Aaron Finch made an outstanding half-century to guide the Pune Warriors India to their first win of IPL 2013 at the third time of asking.
PWI eased to a seven-wicket victory over the previously unbeaten Rajasthan Royals, chasing down a target of 146 in just 18.4 overs. Royals posted 145 for five from their 20 overs, with Rahul Dravid again impressing with a half-century.
Royals gave debutant Harmeet Singh the opening over and the left-arm spinner did a decent job, conceding just six runs, before the carnage began, courtesy Robin Uthappa and Finch.
Finch started proceedings with a maximum off S Sreesanth in the last ball of the second over, before the opening duo lent into Harmeet's second over.
Uthappa smashed the youngster for a couple of fours off the first two deliveries, before Finch added the exclamation mark in the over with a six. The over yielded 17 runs, but there was more to come.
Sreesanth had a nightmare in the fourth for the Royals, as Uthappa went berserk, tonking the fast bowler for two sixes and a four as the score went from 30/0 in three overs to 51 in four.
Uthappa's (32, 16b, 3x4, 2x6) innings came to an end in the next over though, thanks to a moment of brilliance from Dravid.
The Royals skipper plucked a well-hit ball off James Faulkner's bowling out of the air one-handed at short midwicket to complete a stunning catch and curb the Warriors' momentum.
Finch, however, continued his powerhouse hitting, smashing fours and sixes at will as Ross Taylor, after scoring 17 off 20 perished while attempting to hit a maximum -- Brad Hodge taking the catch at deep midwicket for Harmeet's first wicket. The youngster finished with figures of 34 for one from four overs, not bad considering he bowled the first and third overs.
Yuvraj came in after Taylor's wicket and the Indian left-hander looked like taking his side to victory with Finch (64, 53b, 6x4, 3x6), before the Australian played on to Faulkner. Yuvraj (28 in 23) though knocked off the 15 runs needed in the end, sealing the comfortable victory with a four and six off Sreesanth in the penultimate overs.
The first innings saw Rahul Dravid as the star man yet again for the Royals. The veteran had to come into bat in just the second ball of the innings, after Kushal Perera got trapped in front first ball from Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
Dravid and Rahane though went about building the innings in a solid manner, with both players playing some nice orthodox cricket shots.
The Royals skipper was his usual elegant self, as boundary after boundary followed through the offside.
Rahane and Dravid (54, 48, 8x4) put together 81 runs in 11.1 overs for the second wicket, a partnership which gave the Royals a platform to build a decent score.
After Rahane got out to Rahul Sharma (two for 16), for a well played 27-ball 30, the Royals lost their way a bit, going from 81 for two to 106 for five as Stuart Binny, Dravid and Dishant Yagnik had to walk back to the pavilion.
Hodge (22) and Faulkner (19) played a couple of cameos, putting on 39 from the last 4.1 overs to take Rajasthan to the decent total, which was easily overhauled by the Warriors.