Rajasthan Royals tame Highveld Lions by 30 runs, win tenth straight game at home
Jaipur: It was a `Veteran`s Day out` at Sawai Man Singh Stadium as 38-year-old Brad Hodge and 41-year-old Pravin Tambe engineered a comfortable 30-run victory for Rajasthan Royals against Highveld Lions of South Africa in a group league match of the CLT20 here on Wednesday.
Royals thus kept their unbeaten record at home intact with 10th straight win (eight wins in IPL).
While Hodge`s 23-ball-46 helped Royals reach a comfortable 183 for five in 20 overs, leg-spinner Tambe had his moment under the sun with dream figures of 3-0-15-4 to restrict Lions to 153 for nine in 20 overs.
Tambe, who was just another club cricketer plying his trade in Mumbai Maidans before last edition of IPL, ran through the Lions` middle-order with his fast leg-breaks.
Tambe cleaned up Hardus Viljoen (24) and rival captain Alviro Peterson (40) with fastish deliveries, he mixed it up cleverly getting Jean Symes with one flighted outside off-stump and Sohail Tanvir with a fullish deivery that found plumb in-front.
For someone, who just had one wicket from three T20 matches (all played during last IPL), Tambe was on spot from the word go. Not a big turner, the gritty Mumbaikar did find his spot and kept hitting it with a slight hint of leg-break.
By the end of his spell, the shouts of "Pravin Pravin" by the Royals supporters was a fitting tribute to the man whose best days in Mumbai club cricket clashed with that of Sairaj Bahutule, who was Mumbai`s first-choice leg-break bowler for a decade.
Just like first match, unheralded Himachal Pradesh seamer Vikramjeet Malik (2/26 in 3 overs) struck early blows with some disciplined bowling as Rajasthan now are on top of Group A with a very bright chance of making it to the semi-finals.
Earlier, T20 freelancer Brad Hodge showed why he is sought after in the shortest format as he blasted his way to 23-ball-46 which included six fours and two sixes. He got 20 out off the 21 runs that came off the final over of the innings bowled by Pakistani left-arm seamer Sohail Tanvir.
All-rounder Stuart Binny played a nice cameo smashing 38 off only 20 balls while experienced Shane Watson (33, 24 balls, 4x4, 2x6) and veteran skipper Rahul Dravid (31, 30 balls, 5x4) also made useful contributions.
While Royals managed only 69 in the front 10, the back-10 proved to be far more profitable with a whopping 114 runs coming off it.
The 13th over of the Royals innings proved to be `lucky` for the home team as Watson and Binny slammed left-arm spinner Aaron Phangiso to all corners scoring 22 runs from that over which included two huge sixes hit over long-on and long-off by the Aussie all-rounder. That was when the Royals finally managed to break the shackles as an even 100 was scored off the last eight overs.
The duo added 43 runs in only 4 overs after which Watson mistimed a straight hit which was taken at long-on off Tsotsobe`s bowling. After Watson`s departure Binny continued to find the gaps adding another 35 runs in 3.2 overs before he was castled Pretorious. The Karnataka all-rounder hit five fours and a six during his innings.
Put into bat, Ajinkya Rahane (5) didn`t enjoy a good outing as he lofted Sohail Tanvir but didn`t get enough power as the skier was well taken by a diving Hardus Viljoen stationed at mid-off.
Last match`s hero Sanju Samson (12) edged one to Thami Tsolekile behind the stumps of South African ODI specialist Lonwabo Tsotsobe`s bowling.
Royals skipper Dravid looked in good touch during his knock of 31 which contained as many as five boundaries. A couple of cover drives off Tsotsobe were a treat for the eyes while a pull of Viljoen was vintage stuff.
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