Bangalore: Ajinkya Rahane stole the limelight, smashing the first century of Indian Premier League season five to power Rajasthan Royals to a comfortable 59-run win over Royal Challengers Bangalore here on Sunday.
Rahane produced a scintillating 103-run unbeaten knock off just 60 balls and together with Owais Shah (60) stitched 121 runs off 8.2 overs for the second wicket to guide Rajasthan to a mammoth 195 for two after opting to bat at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium. .
Rahane carried on his good form in the tournament and showed his intentions from the onset. He decorated his unbeaten innings with 12 boundaries and five huge sixes to stamp his authority on the highest run-scorer of the tournament list.
Rahane was a treat to watch as he pulled, cut and drove RCB bowlers with consummate ease during his century knock.
Meanwhile, coming in at the number three position, Shah provided Rahane the perfect support from the other end, scoring a quickfire 60 off just 26 balls during which he struck five fours and as many sixes.
Chasing the formidable total, RCB lost the plot after a quick start and lost wickets at regular intervals to be bowled out for 136 in 19.5 overs.
Trivedi starred with the ball for Rajasthan with brilliant figures of four for 25, while Pankaj Singh (2/18) and Amit Singh (2/43) also scalped two wickets apiece.
Mayank Agarwal (34 off 21) gave a brisk start to RCB's run chase before Pankaj pegged back the visitor's innings with a double blow in the fifth over.
Pankaj first dismissed Agarwal, who top-edged a simple catch to Shah and then a ball later he induced an inside edge on to the stumps from dangerman Chris Gayle to shatter RCB's chase.
To make matters worse for RCB, AB de Villiers also failed to make any impact as he played on a Trivedi delivery in the ninth over.
Virat Kohli tried to force a comeback with an 18-ball 22-run innings but it was not to be as Trivedi knocked him over with a slower delivery to pick up his second wicket of the day.
As the asking rate kept on mounting, pressure started to build on the RCB batsmen and in search of quick runs, the visitors continued to lose wickets at regular intervals.
Trivedi turned out to be the beneficiary as he added two more to his tally, cleaning up Saurabh Tiwary (17) and RCB skipper Daniel Vettori in the 15th over.
Towards the end, Amit also picked up two wickets in the form of R Vinay Kumar and last man Muttiah Muralidaran.
Earlier electing to bat, Rajasthan made a steady start, putting on 62 runs for the first wicket before losing Dravid.
Dravid made 25 off 32 balls with the help of two boundaries before perishing in the 11th over, stumped by de Villiers off Rajasthan skipper Daniel Vettori's (1/20) bowling.
But the in-form Rahane was in no mood to relent as he clobbered Muttiah Muralidaran over long-on for a six in the next over to keep the run rate up.
If that was not enough, Rahane then hit left-arm pacer Sreenath Aravind for six consecutive boundaries in the next over to not only pick up 24 runs off the over but also race to his half century off just 41 balls.
New man in Shah also used his long handle to great effect from the onset and smashed Chris Gayle for two sixes and a boundary to notch up 21 runs in the 16th over.
Both Rahane and Shah matched each other stroke by stroke and did not spare a single RCB bowler, finding boundaries and sixes at will.
The duo added salt to RCB's injury when Rahane smashed R Vinay Kumar over midwicket in the 17th over for a huge one. Shah then joined the party and dismissed the bowler for two consecutive sixes and a four to score his fifty of a mere 19 deliveries.
Both Rahane and Shah treated the RCB bowlers with utter disdain during their century stand.
RCB, however, tasted their second success in the penultimate over when Shah holed out to Vinay Kumar off Zaheer Khan (1/15), but by then he had already done the damage along with Rahane.
Shah's dismissal had no effect on Rahane, who went about his business in style, reaching his century off just 58 balls, hitting Vinay Kumar for a boundary straight over his head.
If the first 10 overs of Rajasthan innings produced 61 runs, the last 10 cost RCB a mammoth 134 runs.
Story first published on: Sunday, 15 April 2012 23:31 IST