By BV Swagath
After the Chennai Super Kings, Rajasthan Royals became the second Indian team to make it to the Semi Finals of CLT20 2013. Their victory however has made it difficult for the Mumbai Indians to advance with the other Semi Final spot from Group A likely to go to the Otago Volts.
The Rajasthan Royals had an easy outing at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium as they strolled to a 9-wicket win over the Perth Scorchers, who are terminated out of the tournament with two defeats in a row. The homeside’s victory was set up by its bowlers who bowled out Perth Scorchers for just 120 to prove Rahul Dravid’s decision of bowling first right. Medium pacer Kevon Cooper had a dream day taking four wickets for just 18 runs in 4 overs.
Asked to bat first by Rahul Dravid, Perth lost their first wicket in the 3rd over when Liam Davis pulled Faulkner straight at the throat of deep mid wicket. Watson got the next wicket when he had Ashton Agar slashing him into the hands of thirdman to leave Perth at 29 for 2 in 4.1 overs. Skipper Simon Katich scored 12 from 18 balls before he was stumped out off leggie Pravin Tambe at 62 for 3 in the 9th over.
After Katich’s exit, Perth Scorchers had a spectacular collapse from 62 for 3 to 97 for 9 with Kevon Cooper turning out to be the golden arm for Rajasthan Royals. Cooper took two of his wickets in the 12th over yorking Hilton Cartwright for an lbw and having Adam Voges slogging a slower one. Apart from Cooper, Tambe and Faulkner took two wickets each while conceding less than 20 runs in their 4 overs. Perth Scorchers were bowled out for just 119 in 20 overs.
Chasing just 6 runs an over, Ajinkya Rahane and Sanju Samson, the two young batsmen, who have been in good form, helped themselves to half centuries to wrap up the match for the Rajasthan Royals in 16.3 overs. Skipper Rahul Dravid was the only casualty for the hosts when he was bowled for a duck by Jason Behrendorff playing all around a full ball in the first over. Rahane with 62* from 53 balls (with 5 fours and 2 sixes) and Sanju Samson with 50* from 42 balls (with 6 fours and a six) took Rajasthan Royals to the target with utmost ease.