IPL: Hodge blitz powers Rajasthan Royals to victory over Deccan

Biswajit Jha

Jaipur: Brad Hodge played a blistering unbeaten 48 off just 21 balls while stumper Dishant Yagnik hit two fours under pressure in the last over to power Rajasthan Royals to an incredible 5-wicket win over Deccan Chargers on Tuesday at Jaipur.

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Rajasthan required 11 runs in the last over. Dishant Yagnik (9 not out off 3 balls), who just joined dangerous Brad Hogg after Johan Botha’s departure, hit two consecutive fours to hand Rajasthan an unbelievable win.

But it was Hodge who revived Royals’ hopes after the fall of Rahane while chasing a mammoth 197 for a victory. When Hodge came on to bat, Rajasthan needed 76 runs off just 40 balls, an uphill task considering the fact that they just lost in-form Rahane, who again played a quickfire 31-ball 44.

The win looked more unlikely when another power-hitter Owais Shah departed for just 12. At that stage, they were struggling at 135/4 in 15.2 overs. 62 runs needed off just 28 balls, almost an impossible task.

But the old Australian war-horse, took the onus of putting the Rajasthan team on top. He first, in the company of Johan Botha put on 37-run stand off only 17 balls, setting the tone of an unlikely win.

Hodge slammed 4 fours in the 17th over of the innings off premier fast bowler of the world, Dale Steyn to change the complexion of the match and turned the tide in their favour. From there on, everything went in their favour. He finally remained unbeaten on 48 which was decorated with 6 fours and 2 sixes.

Rajasthan’s batting again clicked as their openers-Dravid (42 off 24 balls) and Rahane-again gave them a rapid start. Dravid looked more dangerous than Rahane. He hit a six over extra-cover which would have made Sehwag a proud man. They reached 62 in just 5.5 overs before Christian bowled Dravid with a perfect yorker.

Apart from leg-spinner Amit Mishra (3/32), every Deccan bowlers went for a plenty of runs.

Earlier, a superb 94-run opening stand from Kumar Sangakkara and Shikhar Dhawan and blistering unbeaten 58 by J P Duminy at the end helped Deccan Chargers post a huge 196/2 in the allotted 20 overs after they won the toss and decided to bat first on a placid Jaipur track.

Duminy clobbered five sixes during his entertaining knock of 58, and along with Dan Christian (29 not out) put on an unbeaten 88-run 3rd wicket partnership to guide his struggling team to almost 200.

Coming on to bat at number 4 after Shikhar Dhawan’s departure, Duminy continued the good work put on by the openers. He initially contented with singles and doubles but once they crossed 15th over, he launched a blistering attack on the oppositions, hitting 5 mighty sixes, mostly on the leg side.

Duminy was also ably supported by Christian with a sensible 19-ball 29. Though he was overshadowed by Duminy during the most part of his stay, his innings was also important in the context of the match as he ensured that they did not lose any wicket, and Duminy, who was hitting all over the park, could stick to his attacking game.

Openers-Sangakkara (44) and Dhawan (52)-gave Deccan a flying start, hitting boundaries in every corner of the ground. They reached 50 in 5.2 overs.

It’s Sangakkara who took the attack to the oppositions first. But soon Dhawan came into his own and started hitting boundaries and outscored his partner. Dhawan got his fifty off just 37 balls with the help of 8 fours. Their 94-run opening stand laid the foundation for a huge score they finally posted.