Rajasthan v Hyderabad, IPL 2013, Eliminator, Delhi May 22, 2013

Hodge launches Royals into qualifier

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Rajasthan Royals 135 for 6 (Hodge 54*) beat Sunrisers Hyderabad 132 for 7 (Dhawan 33, Malik 2-14) by four wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Three days ago, two successive sixes from Darren Sammy had launched Sunrisers Hyderabad into the IPL Eliminator. Three days later, two successive sixes off Sammy's bowling, and from Brad Hodge's bat, launched Rajasthan Royals into the second qualifier, where they will take on Mumbai Indians for a place in the final. The victory also meant Royals sealed their place in the 2013 Champions League Twenty20.

Hodge's was a blinder of an innings in many contexts. Prior to this, he had not spent a lot of time in the middle, Rahul Dravid preferring to use him as a finisher. He came in at 57 for 5 in a chase of 133 on a slow, uneven pitch, on which almost everyone had struggled for timing. He was up against the best attack of the season in a knockout situation. Royals had been up for a week against a spot-fixing controversy that had shaken their team and messed up their combinations.

Hodge's response was one befitting a man who has made the most Twenty20 runs in the world. When he cracked the second ball of the last over 96 metres into the crowd beyond the long-on boundary, he finished on 54 off 29. He hit five sixes on a pitch where the first one took 14.1 overs to come.

This match was Royals' after a start of 50 for 1 inside seven overs. Shane Watson was another batsman who was making a mockery of the difficulties posed by the pitch, pushing forward and getting boundaries with sheer power. His pull off the legspinner Karan Sharma was headed for six over deep midwicket when Sammy jumped several feet to intercept the ball, and turn the game.

Royals lost a wicket each in the next three overs to slip to 57 for 5. Sammy did most of the damage, keeping it straight to hit the stumps, as Dishant Yagnik and Stuart Binny missed. Ajinkya Rahane popped one back to the other Sunrisers legspinner Amit Mishra.

Fifty-eight were needed from 40 when Hodge tore into Karan, a bowler most sides had found difficult to get away. Two sixes and a four in the space of four deliveries. He followed it up with a straight six off Mishra in the next over. Sunrisers were visibly stunned, and Mishra, whose first three overs had gone for eight, was irritated.

Sunrisers hung in, though, despite a wayward 18th over from Dale Steyn. Hodge tried to hit a six almost every ball off Thisara Perera in the 19th, and managed five runs. It came down to 10 needed off six, but Hodge needed two deliveries.

Sunrisers did well to get to 132 from 67 for 3 after 14 overs. Royals went in without a spinner, but their various kinds of medium-pacers tied Sunrisers down with lack of pace and width.

Vikramjeet Malik, playing his second match of the season, sent back Parthiv Patel and Hanuma Vihari in the space of four balls. Shikhar Dhawan and Cameron White took their time to push on. White, especially, looked in good touch but both fell in trying to step up the pace of scoring.

Sammy and Perera were going to be key at the death but again, both fell just as they were starting to dominate. Sammy came out swinging sixes but was run out by an accurate, powerful throw from the deep by the substitute Rahul Shukla for 29 off 21. Perera zoomed to 11 off 6 before edging behind.

It was still not an easy target by any means and Royals' inexperienced middle order seemed to blow it, but Hodge was lurking at No.7 to deliver the knockout punch.

Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Adonis.. on May 23, 2013, 16:26 GMT

    Guys... anyone noticed the number of players, who got the MOM's in RR team? Its whopping EIGHT players. This tells you how RR team is playing like an unit. Someone is raising to the occasion. So far the list includes 1. Dravid (1) 2. Rahane (3) 3. Watson (1) 4. Faulkner (2) 5. Trivedi (1) 6. Cooper (1) 7. Samson (1) 8. Hodge (1) And who can forget the performances of BINNY, even though he haven't received the MOM yet?

    Guys.. lets appreciate this RR as a team, rather than group of individuals?

    For the match against MI, my money is on Binny to get the MOM. Anybody agrees with me???

  • TopofMiddle on May 23, 2013, 16:10 GMT

    As an SRH supporter, I have to admit without any malice that RR deserved to win. One man was the difference yet again after what Pollard did to us. No worries ... we had a decent season. If we can keep the nucleus of this team, lose Sanga for a foreign batter and maybe get just one more good Indian batsman, then the fans can breathe easy next year. Despite this loss, my support lies with RR followed by CSK. I would like to see a repeat winner this season.

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on May 23, 2013, 15:21 GMT

    @Baseball-Sucks, and IPL doesn't owe a thing to Sanga that a private franchise should carry him as an extra baggage in the team of XI with the way he is playing as a player at this time. This is not his national team to get any favours. This is franchise cricket that too not in Sri Lanka but in India. SRH did the right thing by dropping Sanga. If I were SRH, I would have preferred Sammy over White. There ends the story. Sanga doesn't even come into the picture anyway you look at it.

  • dummy4fb on May 23, 2013, 15:01 GMT

    It would be interested to see whether Trivedi will be fit to play the next eliminator. He bowled his 4 overs and then went off. Shukla, a far better fielder, came on as substitute and produced the wicket of Sammy! Was that fair play?

  • addsmiles on May 23, 2013, 14:42 GMT

    @SC13159. I know two pitches were used. Who advises the curator? - That is precisely my question, since the slow surface would have suited SRH better than RR (and it almost did, before the Hodge blinder).

  • andrew27994 on May 23, 2013, 12:41 GMT

    @Baseball-Sucks : Oops, my apologies. You are right about White not being a great captain but even Sanga shouldn't be captain after his dismal performance. So I guess the only other candidate for that has to be Darren Sammy, wouldn't you agree ?

  • SherjilIslam on May 23, 2013, 11:02 GMT

    Poor captaincy throughout the season resulted in SRH losing the tournament.I wonder, why darren sammy wasn't tried from game-1 and why the captaincy was given to Sanga/White where they already had an able captain in Sammy. BTW well played SRH, you won our hearts, it's disappointing to see u getting out. I would like to see the core of the team remaining same, i.e. Dhawan,Sammy,Styne and Mishra shall must get retained and Karan Sharma and Perera should be tried to Bought at any cost in the auction. For RR fans, i would say RR is much better a team than it is always projected.I am not at all surprised to see them in qualifier-2.A team having Rahul D,Shane W,Brad H,James F, Stuart B, Ajinkya R and Shaun T can never be considered as underdogs.So well played and well deserved RR.

  • Baseball-Sucks on May 23, 2013, 10:37 GMT

    @andrew27994 ; I've never praised White. Why would I wanna do that when he is an utter failure as a captain. Its not me, its Baseball_sucks_ , someone who is trying to be me.

  • Otuwa on May 23, 2013, 10:23 GMT

    @AllInFairNess:Yes Perera is a mediocre allrounder[3rd highest run getter with 142strike rate,and 2nd highest wicket taker for SRH]And look at your India's genuine allrounder Irfan Pathan's stats[scored 158 runs with 93strike rate and took 10 wickets]surely he is a world class allrounder.lol..

  • andrew27994 on May 23, 2013, 9:42 GMT

    @Baseball-Sucks Your comments are really funny. Just the other day, I recall you praising White's captaincy but today you are criticising him and suggesting that Sangakkara should've been captain. You have forgotten that SRH have another international captain in Darren Sammy. And I'll bet you, he would've conveniently finished off his overs well before the death overs. The real problem SRH had this time was that Karan Sharma was targeted very early and forced White to bring back Perera and Steyn earlier than he would've wanted. Just accept that SRH were outplayed that day.