Zee Media Bureau/Suyash Srivastava
Rajasthan Royals won their fourth consecutive match of the Champions League Twenty20 as they defeated Otago Volts by 4 wickets on their home ground at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur.
So an excellent knock from Brad Hodge has ended the 15-match winning streak for the Otago Volts. The Royals were 49/0 at one stage and were heading towards a comfortable victory before Otago bowlers bounced back to scalp some quick wickets that forced the home team to take a back seat. But Hodge has been superb with his brutal play towards the end of the innings on a consistent basis and once again he proved why he is the most experienced batsmen in the T20 history. The Royals have been unbeaten so far in the tournament and not forget, they have won their 12 consecutive match on their home ground, their fortress- The Sawai Mansingh Stadium!
Rajasthan Royals innings:
Over 19.1 || Score 142/6
Brad Hodge played yet another scintillating innings as he slammed the Otago bowlers to all parts of the ground in his match-winning knock. While his teammates crumbled under pressure, the brave Aussie batsman once again clobbered monstrous sixes every now and then. 24 runs were needed off the last three overs and Hodge slammed a six and a boundary off Butler’s last two deliveries in the 18th over. With ten needed off the last two overs, Kevon Cooper scored two boundaries in the penultimate over and made the job easier for Hodge who drove the first ball of the last over through covers for a boundary and also reached his half-century off just 23 balls!
JP Faulkner b Wagner 2 (4b)
AM Rahane c Broom b Neesham 52 (48b)
Over 15 || Score 93/4
Otago bowlers continued to pick wickets at regular intervals as they dismissed Shane Watson and then Stuart Binny within no time. Neeham picked his second wicket off the match when he got a ball to move away and Watson edged it to the keeper. Stuart Binny too couldn’t do much today as he edged one towards first slip where Brendon McCullum took a good catch. Rahane reached his consecutive half-century off 44 balls. He has added unbeaten 21 runs for the fifth wicket along with Brad Hodge, Rajasthan now need 47 runs from the last five overs with five wickets in hand.
STR Binny c BB McCullum b Wagner 1 (2b)
SR Watson c de Boorder b Neesham 2 (9b)
Over 10 || Score 67/2
While Rahane continued to play some confident strokes, Dravid’s struggle at the crease continued as he tried to hit some big strokes and finally perished trying to do so. Left-arm spinner Nick Beard pitched one outside the off-stump and Dravid went after it as Nathan McCullum at point took an excellent catch running backwards. Sanju Samson was the next man in but on this occasion he failed to deliver with the bat as he dragged one onto the stumps off James Neesham. Rajasthan were 49/2 and they are under some pressure now after losing two quick wickets.
SV Samson b Neesham 5 (8b)
R Dravid c NL McCullum b Beard 10 (17b)
Over 5 || Score 39/0
Rahane and Dravid have got their side to a great start by adding unbeaten 39 runs in the first five overs. Rahane scored two magnificent boundaries in the first over bowled by Ian Butler that produced 15 runs. Rahane went on to score two more boundaries and is looking confident at the crease now. With wickets in hand, this Rajastan batting line-up can chase down any total.
Otago Volts innings:
Over 20 || Score 139/7
Butler played some big strokes before he was finally dismissed by Cooper in the penultimate over. Nathan McCullum remained unbeaten on 28 from 20 balls. This score should be a cakewalk for the Rajasthan batsmen unless Otago bowlers come up with something magical.
IG Butler b Cooper 25 (18b)
Over 15 || Score 89/6
Kevon Cooper got the fifth breakthrough for his side when Neesham attempted another big stroke and ended up hitting the ball high in the air which landed into the safe hands of Shane Watson at long-on. Ryan ten Doeschate wasn’t at his usual best either and he finally fell to Pravin Tambe. 39 runs have been added in the last five overs, Nathan McCullum and Ian Butler are two new batsmen at the crease.
RN ten Doeschate lbw b Tambe 26 (27b)
JDS Neesham c Watson b Cooper 32 (25b)
Over 10 || Score 50/4
Doeschate and Neesham have rescued the innings to some extent as they have added unbeaten 50 runs for the third wicket. Neesham has played some extremely pivotal knock for his team right through this tournament and he has continued his good form so far in the innings.
Over 5 || Score 22/4
Otago Volts have got off to a disastrous start as they have lost the wicket of top four batsmen, courtesy a superb spell from Rahul Shukla where he picked three wickets in his first over. Shukla was brought into the attack in the third over and he picked a wicket off his first delivery, a yorker, that surprised Rutherford. Skipper Brendon McCullum stay at the crease was short as he missed the line of a ball that slightly swung in and hit him on the pads. Otago are wobbling at the moment and they would want Ryan den Doeschate and James Neesham to stitch a big partnership from here onwards.
NT Broom c Samson b Watson 11 (15b)
DC de Boorder c & b Shukla 0 (2b)
BB McCullum lbw b Shukla 0 (2b)
HD Rutherford b Shukla 5 (7b)
TOSS: Rajasthan have won the toss and Dravid has decided to field first.
Otago Volts have been in some fine form in this tournament but their real test would be against Rajasthan Royals, who haven’t lost a match on their home ground in the past ten occasions. Volts were fortunate in their previous match where they won a thriller against Highveld Lions in the super over. A brilliant century from Quinton de Kock went in vain as the Brendon McCullum-side won the match after a super over that was tied. Since Otago had scored more boundaries in the match, they were declared the winner.
On the other hand, Rajasthan Royals have become a force to reckon with in the tournament and especially at their home ground, they are The invincibles. Sanju Samson is in supreme form for them at the moment and even Ajinkya Rahane was back in his groove when the right-hander stitched an unbeaten 120-run partnership with Samson who has already scored two half-centuries in three matches. The only concern for the team management would be the form of skipper Rahul Dravid who has managed to score just 31 runs from three matches, 31 off which came in a single match. Only if Dravid can score some runs, there is no reason why Rajasthan cannot reach the final of the tournament.
Rajasthan (From): Rahul Dravid(c), Ajinkya Rahane, Sanju Samson(w), Shane Watson, Stuart Binny, Brad Hodge, Ashok Menaria, James Faulkner, Kevon Cooper, Vikramjeet Malik, Pravin Tambe, Shaun Tait, Harmeet Singh, Rahul Shukla, Dishant Yagnik
Otago (From): Neil Broom, Hamish Rutherford, Brendon McCullum(c), Derek de Boorder(w), Ryan ten Doeschate, Jimmy Neesham, Nathan McCullum, Ian Butler, Neil Wagner, Nick Beard, James McMillan, Aaron Redmond, Sam Wells, Jacob Duffy, Mark Craig, Michael Bracewell