By BV Swagath
Rajasthan Royals go into the Semi Finals of CLT20 2013 winning all their four matches in Group A. Otago Volts losing tonight’s game against the Royals have to settle with 10 points in their four matches and thus leaving Mumbai Indians a decent chance to make it to the Semis. Otago have a superior net run rate of +0.869 in comparison to the Mumbai Indians’ net run rate of +0.090. So the Mumbai Indians will have to win by a considerable margin in tomorrow’s match against Perth Scorchers if they have to qualify for the Semis at the cost of Otago.
It was an unexpected thriller at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur as the Rajasthan Royals were cruising through at 67 for 1 in the 10th over chasing a modest target of 141. Jimmy Neesham changed the complexion of the game completely taking three of the four wickets that fell in succession to have Rajasthan Royals at 116 for 5 in 17 overs.
Brad Hodge with an absolute blinder of 52 not out from just 23 balls (with 5 fours and 3 sixes) took Rajasthan home with five balls to spare. Opener Ajinkya Rahane kept his form going with a well paced 52 from 48 balls with 7 fours.
Earlier, Rahul Dravid won the toss and asked Otago Volts to bat first. Speedster Rahul Shukla proved his Captain right by pegging back Otago with three early wickets. Otago were further reduced to 21 for 4 in the 5th over to leave lots of rescue work for Ryan ten Doeschate (26 from 27 balls) and Jimmy Neesham (32 from 25 balls).
All-rounders Nathan McCullum with 28* (from 20 balls) and Ian Butler with 25* (from 18 balls) gave a fine finish to take Otago Volts to a respectable total of 139 for 7. While Rahul Shukla got the Man of the Match for his 4-1-23-3, leg-spinner Pravin Tambe did a marvelous job with his 1 for 17 in 4 overs.