Brad Hodge struck a brilliant unbeaten half-century to steer Rajasthan Royals to a come-from-behind four-wicket victory over Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Indian Premier League 2013 Eliminator in Delhi.
Chasing 133 to win, Rajasthan were reduced to 57 for five but Hodge hit five sixes in an innings of 54 not out in just 29 balls - including two sixes from the first two balls of the final over - to knock the Sunrisers out of the tournament.
The Royals now go on to play Mumbai Indians in the qualifier on Friday (24th May) for the right to take on Chennai Super Kings in Sunday's final.
Hyderabad won the toss and chose to bat first, despite the pitch being a different one from the previous game here. It was a little two-paced and shot making wasn’t really easy.
It showed almost instantly with Parthiv Patel (1) and Hanuma Vihari (1) dismissed early by Vikramjeet Malik (2-14). The early wickets meant that the Sunrisers were rebuilding early in their innings, the duty falling to Shikhar Dhawan (33) and Cameron White (31).
They shared a 52-run partnership for the third wicket, in a bid to accelerate later on in the innings. But when White fell, the score was 55 for three after 11 overs and Dhawan too perished trying to accelerate the innings.
The task then fell to Darren Sammy and the big West Indian came out all guns blazing. He hit three towering sixes in his 21-ball-29-run-innings, and it seemed likely that Hyderabad would get to a par-score, which they did, despite two quick run outs affected by the Royals’ fielders, reaching 132 for seven.
Chasing a total that can be confusing at times, Rajasthan did not get to the best of starts, with Rahul Dravid (12) departing early, but Ajinkya Rahane (18) and Shane Watson (24) put up 37 runs for the second wicket and got the Royals back in shape.
However, Watson was then stunningly caught by Sammy at the deep midwicket fence and it triggered a collapse. Sammy (2-27) came on to bowl and indeed clean bowled Dishant Yagnik (0) and Stuart Binny (2). In between, Rahane was out caught and bowled to Amit Mishra (1-16).
Hodge was held back and only came to bat at number seven with his team floundering at 57 for five after 10 overs. From there, he scripted a sensational comeback for the Royals, first putting up 45 runs for the sixth wicket with Sanju Samson, who contributed only 10 runs to that stand.
Dale Steyn (1-21) removed him near the end but James Faulkner stayed put, unbeaten on run-a-ball 11. The hero of the night though was Hodge as he smacked 54 runs off 29 balls, bringing his team back from the dead.
He hit two fours and used the shortended boundary to good effect, hitting five tall sixes, the last of which brought Royals their victory with four balls to spare.
© Cricket World 2013
Open an account with bet365 today and qualify for up to £200 in free bets with our fantastic 100% Deposit Bonus.