Rajasthan Royals captain Rahul Dravid on Friday lauded young Ajinkya Rahane for his brilliant 98-run knock that set the platform for his side's comfortable win over Kings XI Punjab in their opening match of the Indian Premier League season five.
Rahane scored a blistering 98 off just 66 balls with the help of 16 fours and a lone six to power Rajasthan to 191 for four after being sent into bat.
In reply, Kings XI could only manage 160 for the loss of nine wickets, thereby losing the encounter by 31 runs at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium.
"It is a fantastic night for us. Great to start with a win. It was nice to see the youngsters doing well. We executed our plans well," Dravid said after the match.
"Rahane was brilliant. He has worked really hard after being out of the Indian team," he added.
Kings XI skipper Adam Gilchrist also praised Rahane for his fantastic innings and said Rajasthan completely outplayed his side on the day.
"We were outplayed. Probably, I got the toss wrong. Rahane played a beautiful innings," he said.
"We gave away 20-30 runs more than what I thought we should have conceded. We now have plenty to work. We need to work hard for our victories and execute our plans well," Gilchrist added.
Man-of-the-Match Rahane was full of praise for the pitch offered at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium.
"I was batting well even in practice games so wanted to continue. I believe in myself and if you are a good batsman, you will play well irrespective of the format. The wicket was good and the ball was coming on well," he said.