CLT20 PHOTOS: Hodge helps Royals retain unbeaten record in Jaipur
Rajasthan Royals defeated Otago Volts by four wickets in their final Group A match of the Champions League T20 in Jaipur on Tuesday.
The win helped Royals retain their unbeaten home record.
Brad Hodge ensured the team home, after a mid-innings wobble, with an unbeaten 52.
The Australian's 23-ball knock was inclusive of five boundaries and three huge sixes.
Earlier, Rahul Dravid won the toss and elected to bowl. The hosts replaced Vikramjeet Malik with Rahul Shukla and the move had an instant impact.
Rajasthan Royals: Rahul Dravid (captain), Ajinkya Rahane, Sanju Samson, Shane Watson, Stuart Binny, Brad Hodge, Ashok Menaria, James Faulkner, Kevon Cooper, Ragul Shukla and Pravin Tambe.
Otago team: Brendon McCullum (C), Hamish Rutherford, Neil Broom, Ryan ten Doeschate, James Neesham, Nathan McCullum, Derek de Boorder, Ian Butler, N Wagner, Neil, Beard and James McMillan.
Image: Kevon Cooper of Rajasthan Royals and Brad Hodge of Rajasthan Royals celebrate after beating Otago Volts
Shukla struck thrice in his second over
Rahul Shukla struck thrice in his second over, the fourth of the innings, to break the back of the Otago batting.
The bowler got through Hamish Rutherford's (5) defense with his first ball, trapped captain Brendon McCullum (0) plumb in front with his third and caught Derek de Brooder (0) inhis fourth.
Otago were reduced to 21 for four by the fifth over.
Shukla finished with figures of three for 23 and was named the man-of-the-match for his effort.
Image: Rahul Shukla of Rajasthan Royals celebrates the wicket of Hamish Rutherford of Otago Volts
Neesham put in an all-round show for Otago
The saving grace of the Otago innings was a 53-run stand for the fifth wicket between James Neesham (32) and Ryan ten Doeschate (26) which gave a little respectability to visitors.
Left-handed Neesham, who had hit a brisk 25 ball 52 in his previous innings against Perth Scorchers, holed out to Watson at long on off Cooper.
Neesham returned to pick up three wickets in the Rajasthan innings.
Image: James Neesham of Otago Volts
Watson accounted for Broom
Shane Watson further added to the woes of Otago by scalping Neil Broom (11), who had hit a fine ton against Lions, to reduce the visitors to 21 for in fifth over.
Broom's dismissal meant Otago's 15-match unbeaten run was under threat.
They ended up losing it.
Image: Shane Watson of Rajasthan Royals celebrates the wicket of Neil Broom of Otago Volts
Nathan McCullum made an unbeaten 28
Down the order Nathan McCullum (28 not out) and Ian Butler (25) added some useful runs.
The duo put on 39 quick runs for the side.
Image: Nathan McCullum of Otago Volts pulls a delivery
Rahane hit a measured 52
Ajinkya Rahane hit a measured 52 off 48 balls to stabilise the innings.
Hodge and Rahane formed a 44-run stand for fifth wicket to repair the damage.
After Rahane's departure, the veteran Australian single handedly took the side to victory in an exciting finish.
Image: Ajinkya Rahane of Rajasthan Royals hits over the top for a boundary
Wagner picked up two wickets
Neil Wagner also picked up two wickets for Otago.
But Hodge hit three sixes and five fours and completed his half-century and team's win with a cover drive off Ian Butler.
Royals' 12th victory on the trot at home ensured that Royals finished atop on Group A with 16 points and will now play their semifinal at home.
Royals wins also keeps Mumbai Indians in hunt for the semifinals. Mumbai are third in the table with six points behind Volts (10).
Image: Neil Wagner of Otago Volts celebrates the wicket of Stuart Binny of Rajasthan Royals