Kevon Cooper

Kevon Cooper starred for Rajasthan Royals picking four wickets against Perth Scorchers at Jaipur © PTI (File Photo)

By Sarang Bhalerao

Sep 29, 2013

Kevon Cooper (four for 18) helped Rajasthan Royals restrict Perth Scorchers to 120 in the Group A encounter of Champions League Twenty20 (CLT20) 2013 at Jaipur on Sunday. The Scorchers kept losing wickets regularly thus finishing at a below-par total against Rajasthan’s fortress at Sawai Mansingh Stadium.

The Perth innings fell apart in the middle part of the innings after the bowlers — Cooper and Pravin Tambe turned the game on its head. The regular strikes didn’t help Perth’s cause after they were well placed at the end of powerplay overs scoring 44 for the loss of two wickets.

Like in the game against Mumbai Indians, Rahul Dravid opened the bowling with left-arm part-time spinner Ashok Menaria, who bowled a tight one-run over.

Opener Liam Davis took the attack to Vikramjeet Malik in the second over . Malik was hit for two boundaries — a loft down the ground and a thumping shot over covers. The 13-run over gave momentum to the Scorchers’ innings. James Faulkner was pulled between mid-on and mid-wicket for a four by Davis and things looked ominous for Royals. Off the next delivery, Davis looked to pull Faulkner but he found Kevin Cooper at deep square-leg for a 12-ball 18.

Ashton Agar, Liam’s opening partner, attacked Malik in his second over smashing him for a couple of boundaries. Agar was dismissed in the next over by Shane Watson when he pitched one full which found the Scorchers’ opener’s leading edge and the ball flew to third-man and snapped up by Malik.

Two experienced campaigners — Simon Katich and Adam Voges had the onus of resurrecting the innings and post a challenging total. Voges took the attack to Menaria carting him for a couple of boundaries through the leg-side off long hops.

Dew was a factor while Royals were bowling as one of Watson’s deliveries in the seventh over slipped out of his hand. Katich went for a shot off the misdirected delivery but failed to connect it. Off the next delivery he late-cut Watson past the first-slip and the ball went fine, eluding the third-man.

Scorchers were well-placed at 61 for two in eight overs but introduction of leg-spinner Tambe accounted for Katich who gave him a charge and failed to connect. Sanju Samson had Perth skipper stumpted. From thereon it was work in progress for Scorchers who pinned their hopes on Australian One-Day International (ODI) specialist Voges.

The introduction of Cooper further dented Scorchers’ recovery. In his second over [12th of the innings] Hilton Cartwright was out leg-before and two balls later Voges dragged a slower delivery to long-on to leave the Australian outfit in a precarious position.

Tambe then had his tail up and put pressure on the Scorchers by not allowing easy singles. Tom Triffitt (2) went back to Tambe’s short delivery and offered him an easy chance. Falkner then knocked Joel Paris’s stumps to leave Scorchers at 85 for seven in 14 overs. Tambe finished with two for 17 in his four overs, following his four for 15 against Highveld Lions.

The Perth batting was just going through the motions as the lower-order was unable to create any impact. Faulkner bowled a maiden and run-making was an ardouos task. Ashton Turner hit a boundary in the 17th over off Watson which had come after a hiatus of nine overs. Cooper then came on for his second spell and picked up two wickets in his third over picking up Joe Minnie and Turner. In the end, the last-wicket partnership of 22 between Michael Beer and Jason Behrendorff ensured that Perth went past the three-figure score
 
Earlier, Rajasthan skipper Dravid won the toss and as has been the side’s formula in the night matches he decided to filed first. Royals fielded an unchanged team that beat Highveld Lions in their previous game. Perth Scorchers dropped Burt Cockley and brought in pacer Minnie.

A win for the Perth Scorchers will still keep them alive for the semi-final contention. However, that will be a laborious task considering that Rajasthan have not lost a single game this year at Jaipur. At the half-way stage, Rajasthan look like safeguarding their citadel — so far everything has gone according to the plan for the home team.

Brief scores:

Perth Scorchers 120 in 20 overs (Adam Voges 27; Kevon Cooper 4 for 18) vs Rajasthan Royals.

Full Scorecard

Champions League (CLT20) 2013 Match Schedule

Champions League (CLT20) 2013 Points Table

(Sarang Bhalerao hails from a family of doctors, but did his engineering. He then dumped a career in IT with Infosys to follow his heart and passion and became a writer with CricketCountry. A voracious reader, Sarang aspires to beat Google with his knowledge of the game! You can follow him on Twitter here)