Brad Hodge, Ajinkya Rahane lift Rajasthan Royals to against Kolkata Knight Riders

Brad Hodge scored an unbeaten 46, studded with seven boundaries © PTI

By Devarchit Varma

Jaipur: Apr 8, 2013

Brad Hodge and Ajinkya Rahane’s significant contributions helped Rajasthan Royals set a target of 145 runs against Kolkata Knight Riders in their IPL 2013 match at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur on Monday.

Hodge scored a fluent 46 not out while Rahane scored a gritty 36 to lift the Royals to a competitive total of 144 for six from their allotted 20 overs, despite losing wickets at regular intervals.

The 38-year-old Australian cricketer faced 31 balls during his stay, which was studded with seven boundaries.

Brett Lee, who took a wicket on the very first ball of the tournament in KKR’s first match, started off on an impressive note, giving away only one run in the first over.

The former Australian speedster jolted the home side in his second over, getting the dangerous Shane Watson caught by Eoin Morgan for five.

Opener Ajinkya Rahane and skipper Rahul Dravid then joined forces to take Rajasthan ahead, batting cautiously at the start and kept rotating the strike. The Royals scored 35 runs in the first six overs, losing one wicket.

Dravid fell to Kolkata Knight Riders’ bowler Rajat Bhatia as he tried to play across the line, missing the ball completely, which went on to crash into the wickets. The Rajasthan captain faced 20 balls during his stay at the crease, cracking two boundaries to score 17.

Dravid and Rahane added 35 runs for the second wicket. 

Stuart Binny carried his good form with the bat as he showed aggressive intent right from the start. The right-hand batsmen cracked a boundary off Jacques Kallis in the ninth over of the innings, and followed it up with two hits to the fence off Bhatia to keep Rajasthan on track.

But his resistance ended in the 11th over of the innings when Laxmi Ratan Shukla trapped him in front of the wickets for 14. Binny’s dismissal brought veteran Australian cricketer Brad Hodge at the crease, who started off with a boundary on the first ball he faced.

On the other end, Rahane continued batting confidently, picking up runs all over the park. He welcomed Shami Ahmed back in his spell with a six over the covers off the first ball of the 15th over. The Royals crossed the 100-run mark in the same over.

But Rahane’s innings came to an end in the first ball of the 16th over, when he was caught behind the wickets by Manvinder Bisla off Sunil Narine for 36.

Rahane cracked three boundaries and a six to score 36 from 34 balls.

The star Caribbean spinner then jolted Rajasthan two balls later to dismiss Kevon Cooper for a duck, with Bisla doing smart work the wickets. The 16th over of the innings proved to be successful for the Knight Riders as two wickets fell for only one run. 

The defending champions KKR maintained the pressure over the Royals towards the end, with Jacques Kallis giving away only five runs in the 17th over.

But Rajasthan bounced back in to amass as many as 38 runs in the last three overs. While Hodge kept picking up boundaries easily, Dishant Yagnik slammed two boundaries and a six off Narine’s final over. Narine was Kolkata’s most successful bowler, taking two wickets for 28 from his four overs.

Shukla claimed one wicket for 14 off the two overs he bowled, while Bhatia and Lee claimed a wicket each.

Brief Scores: Rajasthan Royals 144 for 6 in 20 overs (Brad Hodge 46*, Ajinkya Rahane 36; Sunil Narine 2 for 28, Laxmi Ratan Shukla 1 for 14) vs Kolkata Knight Riders.

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(Devarchit Varma is a cricket fanatic who finds nothing more exciting to do than to write, watch or talk about the sport. Having played the game at club and college level, he now pursues his passion as a scribe)