Hodge steers Royals to victory
Brad Hodge blasted his way to 48 not out off just 21 balls as the Rajasthan Royals secured a nailbiting five-wicket win over the Deccan Chargers in their IPL match at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur on Tuesday.
Rajasthan, chasing Deccan’s formidable 196 for two, looked to be out of the contest as they slipped to 121 for three in the 14th over.
But Hodge smashed six fours and two sixes as the hosts began the last over needing 11 runs for victory.
Dishant Yagnik (9 not out) bashed two fours off the bowling of Dale Steyn as Rajasthan reached 197 for five with two balls of their innings remaining.
At the height of Hodge’s onslaught he smashed four consecutive fours off the bowling of Steyn as he and Johan Botha (14) put on a savage 37-run fifth-wicket partnership off 2.5 overs before Botha perished in the penultimate over when he holed out to deep midwicket off the bowling of seamer Anand Rajan to leave the Royals needing 25 runs off 11 balls.
Yagnik and Hodge then saw their team home on a perfect batting pitch and a lighting quick outfield.
The innings had been given an excellent start by Rahul Dravid who was in irrepressible form as he raced to 42 off 24 balls with seven fours and a six before he was outfoxed by a slower ball from paceman Dan Christian to be bowled.
Ashok Menaria (22) then added 48 runs for the second wicket with Ajinkya Rahane before Menaria chipped a delivery from leg-spinner Amit Mishra to JP Duminy as short midwicket to leave the Royals on 110 for two after 12 overs.
Rahane departed 11 runs later when he was dismissed for 44 off 31 balls when he sliced a delivery from Mishra to long-off.
Mishra then claimed his third victim when he had the dangerous Owais Shah (12) caught at long-on before Botha and Hodge revived the innings.
Mishra was the one Deccan bowler to emerge from the match with any credit as he finished with 3-32.
Shikhar Dhawan and Duminy had earlier thrashed fifties to propel Deccan to what seemed like a winning total.
Opening batsman Dhawan, after reaching his fifty off 37 deliveries, was eventually out for 52 off 43 balls with eight fours when he was well caught by a running Hodge at deep square leg off the bowling of seamer Siddharth Trivedi.
Duminy then picked up the cudgels as he scorched his way to his half-century off just 24 balls before hammering his way to 58 not out off 26 balls with three fours and an impressive five sixes.
Kumar Sangakkara and Dhawan had given the Chargers a perfect start with an opening stand that produced 94 runs off just 64 balls.
Dhawan and Sangakkara looked untroubled until Sangakkara top-edged a delivery from off-spinner Hodge to offer up a catch to keeper Yagnik to be dismissed for 44 off 32 balls with five fours and a six.
Duminy and Christian (29 not out) built on the big opening stand by adding 88-runs for an unbroken third-wicket partnership of 88.
The left-handed Duminy started slightly slowly but he showed his worth as a finisher in limited-overs cricket by twice striking successive sixes, once off the bowling of medium-pacer Pankaj Singh and once off the bowling of seamer Amit Singh.
RAJASTHAN ROYALS – Rahul Dravid (capt), Ajinkya Rahane, Owais Shah, Brad Hodge, Ashok Menaria, Dishant Yagnik (wk), Johan Botha, Amit Singh, Brad Hogg, Siddharth Trivedi, Pankaj Singh.
DECCAN CHARGERS - Shikhar Dhawan, Bharat Chipli, Tanmay Mishra, Kumar Sangakkara (capt, wk), JP Duminy, Dan Christian, Abhishek Jhunjhunwala, Amit Mishra, Dale Steyn, Ankit Sharma, Anand Rajan.