| Rajasthan Royals players celebrate the fall of a Highveld Lions wicket, in Jaipur, on Wednesday. (PTI) |
Jaipur: Rajasthan Royals rode the contribution from veterans Brad Hodge and leg-spinner Pravin Tambe to register a comprehensive 30-run victory over Highveld Lions in a Champions League Twenty20 (CLT20) Group A tie, here, at the Sawai Man Singh Stadium, on Wednesday.
The 38-year-old Hodge first played a scintillating 23-ball 46 at the death that propelled the Royals to an imposing 183 for five after being put in to bat. Thereafter, the 41-year-old Tambe came up with excellent figures (3-0-15-4) that helped restrict the Lions to 153 for nine.
Barring skipper Alviro Petersen (40), no other Lions batsmen could come up with a decent contribution.
The man to steal the show, however, was none other than Tambe. “I was excited for Pravin. He bowled quite well there. “We work to play according to the conditions and the pitch here was a bit dry. So I’m glad the move of playing Pravin paid off,” said Hodge.
Skipper Rahul Dravid, too, was all praise for the leg-spinner. “What a story it has been for Tambe, who hasn’t even got a chance to play first-class cricket!
“I feel very happy for him. He has spent so much time in the league and club-level matches and worked very hard at the nets.”
The following are excerpts
Rahul Dravid: It was a terrific and a thoroughly professional performance. Our middle-order, comprising Watson, Binny and Hodge got us to a competitive score and the bowlers then backed it up with a solid performance.
What a story it has been for Tambe, who hasn’t even got a chance to play first-class cricket! I feel very happy for him. He has spent so much time in the league and club level matches and worked very hard at the nets.
I thought I’ll try and bring him on when a wicket falls. The ball was swinging a bit initially. He took a wicket in his first over and two more in the next, which was sensational. He deserves all the credit.
Speaking of Hodgey, he is one of the best and most experienced players when it comes to batting at the death. That too, against any kind of bowling. He has this ability against top-quality bowlers as well.
Sohail Tanvir is a good bowler and Hodgey was successful in taking him apart. He takes on that role beautifully.
We are well placed at the moment but can’t afford to take things lightly. Some very good teams are there in this competition and so, we need to ensure we carry on with the same intensity.
Alviro Petersen: We fancied our chances at the start, but the Royals were simply brilliant. Normally, we are good at the death, but the Royals just outplayed us. Looking back, we wonder where we could’ve got those extra runs.
When the game started, we fancied chasing around 160. We were close to a degree but never got hold of the chase.
We need to bounce back. We want to prove ourselves as the best franchise in South Africa. Our youngsters are learning from the experience they are having in Indian conditions at present, which is certainly a positive.
Pravin Tambe (MoM): I enjoyed bowling... Importantly, I bowled well at the right time. I knew my role when picked today.
I knew where to bowl when I got the chance and wanted to prove that. I was practising for the last few days, working hard at the nets and bowled the line my teammates asked me to.
I enjoy bowling to left-handers and got their wickets today. I enjoy bowling particularly when the ball is skidding. I can also make the necessary adjustments when the ball is turning. It’s good to bowl in these conditions.