Aaron Finch's first IPL fifty and Robin Uthappa's blitzkrieg at the top, took Pune Warriors India to a comfortable 7-wicket victory over hot and happening Rajasthan Royals at the Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium, Pune. Seen here, Finch being congratulated by Yuvraj. (BCCI Image)
Pune Warriors might have had lost as many games in the IPL 2013 as Rajasthan Royals had won (till this match) but the visiting side did not have the most auspicious of starts losing Shane Watson's replacement Kushal Perera off the very first ball to Bhuvneshwar Kumar. (BCCI Image)
Rajasthan skipper Rahul Dravid then came in and continued his rich vein of form in very typical style. He hit boundaries straight down the ground, past point and clip past backward square leg but all kissing the beautiful surface at the Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium in Pune.
His confidence probably rubbed on to Ajinkya Rahane, who, did not bat too freely to begin with but gave his captain able support. (BCCI Image)
Pune spinners Rahul Sharma and Yuvraj Singh then came in to put brakes on the Rahane-Dravid partnership giving just 21 runs in the first four overs between them.
That tight period proved too much to handle for Rahane as he tried to hit Sharma out of the park but gave skipper Angelo Mathews a simple catch at long-off. He scored 30 runs off 27 balls. (BCCI Image)
Pune then looked to tighten the screws as Yuvraj accounted for Stuart Binny caught by Mitchell Marsh at long-on for 1 to reduce Rajasthan to 85/3 from what looked like a strong foundation at 81/1. (BCCI Image)
Dravid though held fort as he reached his second fifty of the IPL 2013, not too quick or flamboyant but effective. (BCCI Image)
In coming batsman 38-year old Australian Brad Hodge got a life early on 1 when he was dropped by Angelo Mathews off his own bowling. On the other end Ross Taylor more than made up for Mathews' mistake taking a brilliant one-handed catch to remove Rajasthan skipper Dravid for 54 off 48 balls. (BCCI Image)
Pune seemed right on top at this stage as previous match 'late-order' star Dishant Yagnik joined the real hero of the last match, Hodge. The youngster tried a few cheeky shots - reverse sweeps of the most outrageous kind - but lived by the sword. He scored 12 off 8 balls before holding out to T Suman at short fine leg. (BCCI Image)
Brad Hodge, James Faulkner hit a few lusty blows at the end to take Rajasthan Royals to 145/5 in their stipulated 20 overs. (BCCI Image)
Pune Warriors shot off to a blistering start with Robin Uthappa and Aaron Finch, who had replaced Manish Pandey in the Pune squad. The Pune team's fifty came within 4 overs as S Sreesanth and young left-arm spinner Harmeet Singh bore the brunt of the whirlwind from Uthappa-Finch pair. (BCCI Image)
Rahul Dravid had to get his fielding skills absolutely spot on to remove the dangerous looking Uthappa off the bowling of James Faulkner. Uthappa's 32 off 16 balls left Pune with what looked like a simple target to chase - 88 in 15 overs. (BCCI Image)
With the team being in such command, Finch too decided to open up even as New Zealand ex-skipper Ross Taylor came in to join him. The Australian took on from where the Indian had left to punish Rajasthan bowlers all around the park. His first IPL fifty came off 36 balls. (BCCI Image)
On the other hand, Taylor too tried to open up. He hit young Harmeet Singh for a massive six via a typical slog sweep but held out in the deep in the same over. Brad Hodge completed another spectacular catch of the day. Taylor scored 17 runs off 20 balls. (BCCI Image)
Yuvraj Singh then trotted in to massive cheers from the home crowd. The Pune team the required all of 42 runs from 8 overs.
Remaining runs were polished off quite easily by Yuvraj Singh and Finch. Finch though got out for 64 nearing the end of the game. (BCCI Image)
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