Team India middle-order batter Ajinkya Rahane brought up a brilliant half-century on his Test comeback on Friday (June 9), smashing a sensational six off Pat Cummins in the WTC final at the Oval.
Coming in with the team in trouble at 50-3 in their first innings, the 35-year-old displayed great composure and impenetrable technique to help India attain a semblance of respectability on the scoreboard. The veteran batter reached his half-century with an emphatic swivel pull over long leg into the stands off of an attempted bouncer by Pat Cummins.
Here is a video of the stunning six by Rahane to bring up his fifty:
With this knock, Ajinkya Rahane became the first Indian batter to record a half-century in WTC fina history.
One of the most accomplished Test batters, Rahane, was dropped from the Indian test squad after his poor performance on the tour of South Africa in 2022.
The senior statesman boasts an overall Test average of 38.52 with 12 centuries and 25 half-centuries in 82 Tests. However, he averaged a paltry 20 in 15 matches between 2021 and 2022, which led to his dropping from the Indian squad after the tour of South Africa in 2021.
The 35-year-old had a brilliant Ranji season in 2022–23, scoring 634 runs at an impressive average of 57.6 to earn a recall to the Indian Test squad for the WTC final. He captained India in the final three Tests of their famous series win Down Under in 2020–21 and played a magnificent knock in the series-leveling second Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).
Rahane also was instrumental in CSK's triumphant IPL title run this season, scoring 326 runs in 14 matches at an average of 32.60 and a phenomenal strike rate of 172.49.
"I’ve never seen Rahane move so well" - AB de Villiers
Former South African great AB de Villiers praised Ajinkya Rahane at the end of Day 2 of the WTC final against Australia at the Oval.
Coming in with India reeling at 50-3, Rahane stitched a crucial 71-run partnership with his CSK teammate Ravindra Jadeja. Although Jadeja was dismissed late in the day off the bowling of Nathan Lyon, Rahane remained unbeaten on 29 with KS Bharat for company.
In response to a Twitter post by commentator Harsha Bhogle, former South African captain AB de Villiers replied:
"I’ve never seen Rahane move so well! Technique is sound and playing it late."
Earlier in the day, pacer Mohammed Siraj picked up four wickets to skittle Australia out for 469 after they began the day on 327-3.
Steve Smith and Travis Head were the heroes for Australia, adding 285 for the fourth wicket to put Australia firmly in the ascendency. Their partnership helped Australia recover from a precarious 76-3 on a tricky Oval wicket.
At the time of writing, India are 239-6, with Ajinkya Rahane and Shardul Thakur involved in an unbroken 87-run partnership. They still trail Australia by a massive 230 runs and need another 31 runs to avoid the follow-on.