Rahane, Cooper give Dravid his first win as RR skipper

Ajinkya RahaneJaipur: Ajinkya Rahane used his willow with vigour and played an innings, which signified the aesthetics of skilful batsmanship. He played with grace, style and confidence and struck a classy 98 off 66 balls that gave Rajasthan Royals a total (191for four) which they could have defended against any opposition. And later, Kevon Cooper spelled magic with the ball and picked up four wickets to give his team 31-run win over Kings XI Punjab in the Indian Premier League (IPL) match here on Friday.

The win was the home team's first under new captain Rahul Dravid, who took over from spin legend Shane Warne.

Punjab never looked like chasing down the target after being 61 for four in eight overs and the pressure kept on mounting on the batsmen with the asking rate going up steeply. Mandeep Singh top-scored with 34 while skipper Adam Gilchrist made 27 at the top of the order.

The night clearly belonged to Rahane, who was unlucky to miss out on a hundred. His knock was a classic example of how one can be successful in T20 while playing pure cricketing shots. Rahane hit Praveen Kumar for four boundaries in the third over of the match with each of them going down the ground in different directions. That proved to be just the start of delightful strokes flowing from his bat. Overall, Rahane collected 16 boundaries and a six before falling to Harmeet Singh in the 20th over.

Rahane shared 77 runs for the opening wicket with Dravid (28), setting up the foundation for a big score.