Royals extend winning streak at home to 12 matches
By Krithika Gopalkrishnan | ENS | Published: 02nd October 2013 10:38 AM |
W-4lb-W-0-W-0… Figures like these are a rarity in Twenty20 cricket. Rahul Shukla bowled this brilliant fourth over to lay the foundation of Rajasthan Royals’ victory. The hosts did Mumbai Indians a slight favour as they plugged the fuse off Otago Volts after beating them by four wickets in their final Group B Champions League T20 match at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium.
The New Zealand side suffered their first defeat of the tournament as Royals put an end to their 15-match winning streak in T20s. As table-toppers, Rahul Dravid & Co ensured they would play the semifinals at home. And Rajasthan’s grip over their fort strengthened further as their unbeaten record in the Pink City this year stayed untouched.
It will be a painful 20-hour wait for the Volts as their fate would be decided after Mumbai’s game against the Perth Scorchers on Wednesday. Though MI’s chances are bleak, if the IPL champions manage to register a more than a convincing win, they would go through by virtue of a better net run rate. But the fact that Otago managed to stretch the game till the last over against Royals could work in their favour as it did little harm to their run rate (+0.869).
Ajinkya Rahane (52 off 48) continued from where he had left off against the Scorchers. The suave Mumbaikar scored runs all over the ground and scored his second half-century on the trot. Volts made an impressive comeback as Dravid, Sanju Samson, Shane Watson and Stuart Binny fell in quick succession. But Rahane refused to budge and found an able ally in Brad Hodge. Their 44-run partnership brought the Royals closer to the target of 140. Rahane, however, didn’t stay to finish off the formalities as James Neesham, who had dismissed Samson and Watson, cut short his stay at the crease. Hodge did the needful and took Royals home with a four that also brought up his half century (52 no).
Dravid might not have got going with the bat but his strategy to play Shukla ahead of Vikramjeet Malik paid rich dividends. Bowling only for the second time in this tournament, Jharkhand’s Shukla bowled a triple-wicket maiden, his very first over of the day. He ripped through the Otago top-order, accounting for Hamish Rutherford, skipper Brendon McCullum and wicket-keeper Derek de Boorder.
In came man of the moment Neesham. However, Kevon Cooper deceived Neesham with a slower one, bringing an end to his brief assault of 32 off 25 balls. Ryan ten Doeschate, Natham McCullum and Ian Butler then saw to it that the Volts didn’t surrender meekly and put up a competitive total.
Otago 139-7 in 20 overs (Neesham 32, Shukla 3-23) bt Rajasthan Royals 142-6 in 19.1 overs (Hodge 52 n.o, Rahane 52, Neesham 3-22).