Arun Gopalakrishnan in Mumbai
Match Report: M 15 - Rajasthan Royals vs Perth Scorchers
Clinical Royals seal semi-final berth
The Royals skipper Rahul Dravid had his middle stump pegged back on the fourth delivery of the innings. But there was not too much drama during rest of the run-chase as Ajinkya Rahane and Sanju Samson were involved in a mature partnership and guided their team home without any further damage. There was never a moment where they gave the visitors any semblance of a chance of defending the target. Both batsmen impressed with their shot selection and played some delightful strokes while at the crease; if young Samson was fluent through the leg-side caressing the ball off his pads, Rahane impressed with his sharp footwork and drives through the off-side.
Rahane brought up his half-century in the 15th over when he stepped down the track and hit Michael Beer inside-out over the extra cover boundary. Samson brought up his half-century with a nudge to fine-leg.
The Royals finished at 121/1 in 16.3 overs and extended their winning streak at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium to 11 games. Rahane was unbeaten on 62, while Samson remained unconquered on 50.
Earlier, on a pitch where 360 runs were scored in 42 overs earlier in the match between the Otago Volts and Highveld Lions, the Perth Scorchers collapsed to 97/9, before a 23-run last-wicket stand took them past the 100-run mark. After a quiet start, where the openers picked up just one run from Ashok Menaria’s opening over, Liam Davis (18) got his team going when he picked up 13 runs from Vikramjeet Singh’s over. He perished in the third over when he attempted an aggressive stroke and picked the man at deep square-leg.
The Scorchers were in a respectable position at 61 for two after the eighth over. But the introduction of the leg-spinner Pravin Tambe and Kevon Cooper pushed the Australian club off course. Tambe beat Simon Katich with a googly and had him stumped, while Cooper picked up the wickets of Hilton Cartwright and innings top-scorer Adam Voges. Tambe dismissed Tom Triffitt in his second over, after which James Faulkner’s yorker hit the base of Joel Paris’ stumps.
Cooper returned to bowl in the 18th over and dismissed Joe Mennie and Ashton Turner off consecutive deliveries. The last-wicket pair of Michael Beer and Jason Behrendorff ensured that their team batted out their entire quota of overs, adding 23 runs in the process. The former was run-out off the last ball of the innings, while Behrendorff remained unbeaten on a run-a-ball 12. The shot selection of several of the Scorchers batsmen left a lot to be desired as the team finished their 20 overs at 120, 16 of which came through extras.
Cooper (4/18) was the pick of the Royals bowlers, while Faulker (2/16), Tambe (2/17) and Shane Watson (1/23) were the other wicket-takers.
Trivia: The Perth Scorchers innings had 61 dot balls in all.
The longest partnership in the Perth Scorchers innings was the third-wicket partnership between Simon Katich and Adam Voges. It lasted 4.4 overs.
Three Rajasthan Royals bowlers – James Faulkner, Pravin Tambe and Kevon Cooper – finished with economy rates of under five runs per over.
Man of the Match: Kevon Cooper for his four wickets.