Brad Hodge could not have timed his first fifty for Rajasthan Royals this season any better. (Rajasthan vs Hyderabad match report) The Australian T20 specialist bludgeoned a 29-ball 54 (two fours and five sixes) to propel Rajasthan Royals one step closer to the Indian Premier League final against Chennai Super Kings on Sunday. Chasing Sunrisers Hyderabad's lowly 132, Rajasthan crashed to 57 for five and were virtually looking down the barrel against a solid Sunrisers' bowling attack until Hodge turned things around with some lusty batting.
Two sixes and a four from Hodge (Scorecard) in a Karan Sharma over that went for 18 put Rajasthan back in the ascendancy, and though Dale Steyn returned to trap Sanju Samson in front, Hodge and James Faulkner took them over the line. With 10 needed off the last over, Hodge slammed Darren Sammy for two sixes to spark off celebrations for Rajasthan at Kotla. (Watch: Dean Jones, Farokh Engineer in awe of Hodge) Faulkner says Hodge (match stats) played like a man possessed for the franchise troubled by spot-fixing allegations (Read: Sreesanth's no-ball caused furore amongst bookies) against three of its players.
"The partnership (33 runs with Hodge) was obviously good on Wednesday night. He (Hodge) pretty much sealed it for us. His innings was unbelievable. I have, at the other end, myself been playing domestic cricket against him but it is good to be at the same end this time," said Faulkner, who plays for Tasmania. Hodge is a Victorian.