Jaipur, Apr 7: Rajasthan Royals captain Rahul Dravid 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 on Friday. 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 they were sent into bat.
"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."
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, and Punjab skipper Adam Gilchrist also praised Rahane for his fantastic innings, admitting Rajasthan had completely outplayed his side.
"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."
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 [I] 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.