Rajasthan Royals qualified for the semi-finals of the Champions League Twenty20 (CLT20) 2013 after their nine-wicket win against Perth Scorchers on Sunday. In such one-sided matches, it is the winning side that will invariably have the better performers on the day. But there will always be a few from the losing side as well, who did their bit to get noticed. Shrikant Shankar identifies the top individual performers from the match.
First and foremost it is very difficult to find out who were the better performers for Perth Scorchers on a day when they were completely outplayed. So, it might come as a surprise to many if certain individuals are in this list despite not getting enough runs on the board or getting enough wickets. But the positives have to be highlighted especially after such a defeat.
It looked pretty good for Perth for the first two and a half overs, especially after having been sent into bat first. Liam Davis, who opened the batting with Ashton Agar, did all the scoring, quite literally, till he was dismissed for 18 off 12 balls in the third over by countryman James Faulkner. Davis struck three fours to get things rolling for the Western Australia side. He pulled a length delivery well outside off-stump to deep square-leg, where Kevon Cooper took the catch.
Adam Voges top-scored for Perth with 27 off 21 balls, which included three fours. The veteran Australia batsman put together a 33-run partnership with captain Simon Katich for the third wicket. After Katich’s dismissal, Voges added 14 with Hilton Cartwright. Both Cartwright and Voges were dismissed in a space of three deliveries in the 12th over from Cooper. Voges lofted a slower delivery from Cooper straight to Faulkner at long-on.
Not much has been heard of Jason Behrendorff so far, but it is fair to say that people will know a bit more about him after a fine show against Rajasthan on Sunday. He pushed Perth’s score to the respectable 120-run mark [for T20s] with a run-a-ball 12. The No 10 batsman stitched a 23-run stand with Michael Beer for the 10th wicket. Eventually Beer was run-out on the last ball of the innings and Perth finished on 120 all out. The left-arm pacer gave hope to Perth as he bowled Rahul Dravid for a duck in the first over. But in the end it proved to be the only wicket that the Australian side would take.
With such a comprehensive win in the Champions League Twenty20 (CLT20) 2013, Rajasthan are bound to have plenty of players who stepped up to the plate and delivered. Let’s take a look at the standout performers.
Kevon Cooper was by far the standout performer of the match. The West Indies medium pace bowler mixed his deliveries quite well and was rewarded with four wickets in four overs conceding only 18 runs. This is a change in the current trend as Cooper was very expensive in the last two matches. As mentioned above, Cooper got his first two wickets (Cartwright and Voges) in a space of just three deliveries. He also got his final two wickets (Joe Mennie and Ashton Turner) in very quick succession — consecutive deliveries. This basically broke Perth’s attempts of building an innings. He was rightfully adjudged as the Man of the Match.
James Faulkner and Pravin Tambe
Both James Faulkner and Pravin Faulkner took two wickets each to compound Perth’s misery. Left-arm seamer Faulkner got the first wicket of Davis and then came on to bowl Joel Paris later in the innings. Leg-spinner Tambe got the most important wicket of Perth captain Simon Katich. He then dismissed Tom Triffitt with a brilliant return catch diving in front to his right. This evened out an earlier dropped chance to dismiss Katich — again of his own bowling.
For many, it is still a mystery as to how Ajinkya Rahane continually gets overlooked for a berth in the Indian starting eleven. The right-hander played a responsible knock and ensured that Rajasthan crossed the finish line with him being unbeaten on 62 off 53 balls. His innings included five fours and two sixes. It is quite easy to lose focus in matches where the target is low and throw your wicket away. But Rahane played sensibly to guide his team through.
The same can be said of Sanju Samson as well. He too could have played unnecessary shots and lost his wicket. But Samson also played sensibly to make sure he remains not out when the winning runs were scored. He scored 50 off 42 balls with six fours and one six. He and Rahane put together a 120-run partnership for the second wicket to seal the match for Rajasthan. They have now joined fellow Indian Premier League side Chennai Super Kings in getting into the semi-finals stages of the CLT20 2013. They still have one match to go in Group A against New Zealand’s Otago Volts.
(Shrikant Shankarpreviously worked with Mobile ESPN, where he did audio commentary for many matches involving India, Indian Premier League and Champions League Twenty20. He has also written many articles involving other sports for ESPNSTAR.com. You can follow him on Twitter @Shrikant_23)