Bangalore: Ajinkya Rahane missed it in Rajasthan Royals' opening IPL 5 game against the Kings XI Punjab on April 6 but he was not to be denied on Sunday.
The Rajasthan opener smashed the first century of IPL 5 against the Royal Challenges Bangalore at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore on Sunday. He scored 103 off 60 balls, which included six fours in a single over off S Aravind that saw him go from 48 off 40 after 12 overs to 72 off 46 at the end of the 13th.
Rahane, who opens for Rajasthan alongside India veteran Rahul Dravid, has so far completely overshadowed his senior partner and has been the backbone of his side's batting line-up. He is currently the orange cap holder in the IPL, which means he has accumulated the most runs in the season so far.
He had earlier slammed 98 off 66 balls with the help of 16 boundaries and a six against the Kings XI Punjab at the Sawai Man Singh Stadium in Jaipur to lift his side to a huge total of 191/4 in 20 overs on April 6.
Rajasthan may not have been as successful in IPL since their trophy-winning campaign in the inaugural IPL in 2008 but if there is one thing they have done consistently, it is to churn out good performances from local players. Be it Swapnil Asnodkar, Kamran Khan or now Rahane.
Of course, having played a few games for India, Rahane is not an unknown entity, but the new found fame will not only uplift his profile but also his chances to break back into the Indian team.
Although he dons the Royals blue jersey in the IPL, Rahane plays domestic cricket for Mumbai and is one of only 11 players to have scored 1000 runs in a single Ranji season.
He is a top-order Mumbai batsman who is quite comfortable opening the innings. He in fact has played as an opener for India in the limited chances he has got in the national team. He made his India debut in an ODI against England during the team's disastrous tour there last year. Even though Team India had an abysmal outing in England, Rahane impressed with his clam and mature batting.
Rahane has scored 340 runs in 11 ODIs with a highest score of 91 and a strike-rate of over 75 for India. He has also played two T20 internationals where he has made 61 runs.