Rajasthan Royals 197-5 (Hodge 48no) beat
Deccan Chargers 196-2 (Duminy 58no) by 5 wickets
Indian Premier League, Jaipur
Brad Hodge struck a magnificent 48 not out in 21 balls and Dishant Yagnik hit two late boundaries as the Rajasthan Royals snatched a five-wicket victory from the jaws of defeat against the Deccan Chargers.
As another Indian Premier League 2012 match went down to the final over, Hodge and Yagnik's partnership enabled the Royals to close on 197 for five with two balls to spare in reply to Deccan's 196 for two.
Half-centuries from Shikhar Dhawan (52) and JP Duminy (58 not out) had earlier set the Chargers on course for an excellent score but they allowed the game to slip away - almost literally, as the Royals innings started and ended with misfields.
The Chargers had not played for eight days but showed no ill-effects of a prolonged break. Openers Kumar Sangakkara and Shikhar Dhawan stroked their way to a tournament-best partnership of 94 in 10.4 overs, Sangakkara hitting 44 in 32 balls and Dhawan outstanding in making 52 in 43.
The left-handers hit 13 boundaries together and Sangakkara also managed a six but even after they were dismissed, Sangakkara off the bowling of Brad Hodge and Dhawan off Siddharth Trivedi, the runs continued to flow.
And quickly, as Daniel Christian smashed an unbeaten 29 in 19 balls and JP Duminy, making his first appearance in the tournament, scored an explosive 58 not out in just 26 balls. The left-hander carved three fours and five sixes as he carried the Chargers to the brink of scoring 200.
Rajasthan then got off to a flying start - as they had to - with Rahul Dravid making 44 in 24 balls with seven fours and a six as he and Ajinkya Rahane looked to match the performance of Sangakkara and Dhawan but Dravid fell when he was bowled by Christian, their partnership worth 62 in 5.5 overs.
Rahane then joined forces with Ashok Menaria, and although Menaria hit a brisk 22 in 20 balls, such was the task facing the Royals, that they were under pressure when he departed having chpped Amit Mishra to Duminy at midwicket.
Mishra was celebrating again soon after when Rahane mistimed a drive and was caught in the deep by Christian, having made 44 in 31 balls to move past the 300-run mark in the tournament to date.
The experienced pairing of Owais Shah and Brad Hodge were charged with scoring at more than 12 runs an over and proved they were up to the fight with some big shots, although Shah was dropped by Dale Steyn at the end of the 15th over.
Moments later, the miss proved academic as Shah holed out to Abhishek Jhunjhunwala on the midwicket boundary as Mishra grabbed his third wicket. Shah made 12 in 11 balls.
Rajasthan weren't done yet, however, and as Hodge took Steyn for four consecutive boundaries, they needed 38 to win in 18 balls, as Hodge once again went to the top of the all-time list of run-scorers in Twenty20 cricket.
Just when they needed it to put pressure back on Rajasthan, Deccan's fielding continued to let them down, Bharat Chipli letting through a boundary and then spilling a simple chance to remove Johan Botha.
Botha took advantage by crashing Christian handsomely over midwicket for a huge six and after an over that brought 13 runs, they needed 25 from 12 balls; the match very much in the balance.
Kumar Sangakkara turned to Anand Rajan and he immediately struck gold as Botha was caught in the deep by Tanmay Mishra trying for another maximum. Ever the man for the situation, Hodge struck a crucial boundary down the ground, then nearly had his head taken off by an accidental head high full toss and hit a six over cover from the resulting extra delivery.
A single from the final ball meant that he would be on strike for the final over, from which the Royals needed 11 to win. Two came from the first delivery and a single from the second, leaving Dishant Yagnik on strike, facing a fired-up Dale Steyn.
As the Chargers brought the field up to force the pressure on the batsman, he responded by carving the ball over backward point for four, leaving the Royals needing four to win from three balls.
They only needed one ball as another drive from Yagnik was fumbled on the boundary and crept over the rope as the Chargers slumped to a third straight defeat.
© Cricket World 2012