Hodge steers Royals to victory

2013-10-02 00:00

A FORCEFUL innings from Brad Hodge helped the Rajasthan Royals clinch Group A of the Champions League T20 against the Otago Volts in Jaipur yesterday.

Hodge smashed an unbeaten 52 off 23 balls, hitting three sixes and five fours, as the Royals got home with five balls to spare. James Neesham played his part for the Volts, scoring 32 and taking 3-22, crucially reducing the margin of defeat.

Neesham’s effort were not enough to extend Otago’s remarkable record of 15 straight T20 wins.

Rajasthan’s openers made a solid start in reply to Otago’s 139. Rahul Dravid was a junior partner to Ajinkya Rahane, whose cover driving in particular showed excellent timing.

However, they lost a cluster of wickets after Rahane and Dravid had put on 49, with Neesham getting into the act. Rahane continued to pick off the boundaries, finding a useful partner in Brad Hodge.

Rahane went in the 17th over for 52, made off 48 balls with seven fours. But by then Hodge was in his stride, and made light work of blasting his team home.

Earlier, Otago had relied on a middle order recovery after the top order had failed against Rahul Shukla.

Neesham led the recovery, aided by a trio of twenties from Ryan ten Doeschate, Nathan McCullum and Ian Butler.

Shukla was the pick of the Rajasthan bowlers with 3-23, well supported by Pravin Tambe with 1-17 in his four overs and Kevon Cooper, who took 2-33.

While the Royals can now prepare for the first semi-final at Jaipur on Friday, Otago might have done just enough to qualify as well.

While they remain second in the group, a good win for the Mumbai Indians against the Perth Scorchers could still see Otago eliminated.


Otago 139/7 (20/20 ov)

Rajasthan Royals 142/6 (19.1/20 ov)

Rajasthan Royals won by 4 wickets (with 5 balls remaining).

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