Arun Gopalakrishnan in Mumbai
Match Report: M 9 - Rajasthan Royals vs Highveld Lions
Tambe, Hodge help Royals defend fortress
Needing to score at 9.20 runs an over, the Lions were off to a flier with Quinton de Kock picking up two boundaries and a six early on. His opening partner, Rassie van der Dussen, struggled to get the ball off the square in the face of some disciplined bowling from Vikramjeet Malik and James Faulkner. Shane Watson, introduced into the attack in the fourth over, struck with his third delivery when he had de Kock (18) caught at cover.
van der Dussen (14) took the aggressive way to break the shackles and hit Malik for a four and a six, but fell prey to a well-disguised slower one in the same over. Temba Bavuma’s first-ball dismissal meant the good work by the opening pair was undone in a matter of minutes.
Hardus Viljoen and skipper Alviro Petersen helped rebuild the innings with a 53-run partnership. Viljoen was the more aggressive of the two batsmen, depositing Stuart Binny and James Faulkner into the stands. Petersen joined in picking up boundaries along the carpet. Their association was broken when Viljoen (24 off 21 balls) didn’t pick a googly from the leg-spinner Pravin Tambe and had the woodwork behind him rearranged.
Tambe made the most of the opening and ran through the middle order, picking up four wickets – including that of innings top-scorer Petersen (40). The Lions batted out their 20 overs, eventually finishing at 153/9 – 30 runs short.
Among the Royals bowlers, Malik (2/26), Faulkner (2/22) and Watson (1/27) picked up wickets apart from Tambe.
Earlier in the evening, on a pitch where 422 runs were scored in the earlier match, the Rajasthan Royals did very well to post 183 runs on the board. Rahul Dravid set the pace for his team cracking three boundaries in as many overs before losing the company of his opening partner Ajinkya Rahane. Young Sanju Samson cracked two boundaries before he was put down at slip. However, the teenager didn’t capitalize on the opportunity, edging one to the wicketkeeper shortly after.
Shane Watson and Dravid (31 off 30 balls) were involved in a 31-run stand for the third wicket before the latter picked the man at cover.
The arrival of Stuart Binny gave the innings some much needed impetus. The all-rounder cracked boundaries off successive overs when Watson joined in. The 13th over of the innings – bowled by Aaron Phangiso – produced 22 runs, with Watson hitting two sixes and a boundary, and Binny helping himself to a boundary through fine leg. The Watson-Binny association was nipped at 43 runs when the former attempted to hit Lonwabo Tsotsobe over the top, but got more height than distance and was caught at long-on. The Australian made 33 from 24 balls in a knock that included four boundaries and two sixes.
After hitting Phangiso for a six and a boundary, Binny perished in the 17th over for a crisply-compiled 38. His 20-ball knock had five hits to the fence and one over it.
The Royals looked good to post a total in the region of 160 before a certain Brad Hodge exploded. Sohail Tanvir, whose first three overs cost him only 15 runs, was taken to the cleaners in the final over of the innings. The 38-year-old Australian hit him for two fours and two sixes to give the innings the thrust right at the end. The 21-run over meant the Royals ended their innings at 183/5. Hodge remained unbeaten on 46 (23 balls; 6 fours, 2 sixes), while Ashok Menaria had six runs against his name as the players headed back to the dressing room at the end of the innings.
For the Lions, Tsotsobe and Dwaine Pretorius picked up two wickets each, while Sohail Tanvir finished with one for 36. Hardus Viljoen and Phangiso had forgettable outings, conceding 41 and 52 runs respectively in their four overs.
Trivia: Stuart Binny and Brad Hodge picked a bowler to target. While Binny scored 24 runs of nine balls he faced against Aaron Phangiso, Hodge scored 22 runs from the seven balls he faced from Sohail Tanvir.
The Rajasthan Royals innings had as many as 43 singles. There were 23 fours and five sixes too.
The Rajasthan Royals innings had four partnerships in excess of 30 runs, whereas the Lions had just one in their innings.
Man of the Match: Pravin Tambe for his four-wicket haul.