Indore: Brad Hodge put in an impressive all-round performance to help Kochi Tuskers Kerala post an easy eight-wicket win over Rajasthan Royals in an Indian Premier League (IPL) match on Sunday.
Australian off-spinner Hodge finished with 4-13 and then hit an unbeaten 33 off just 17 balls as Kochi surpassed Rajasthan’s total of 97 with more than 12 overs to spare for their sixth win in 13 games of the Twenty20 tournament.
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New Zealander Brendon McCullum smashed four sixes in his 12-ball 29 before Hodge and Parthiv Patel (21 not out) finished the match with their 53-run stand for the third wicket.
Despite the early loss of skipper Mahela Jayawardene to Jacob Oram, McCullum looked unperturbed and hammered four sixes and a boundary to knock the stuffing out of the Rajasthan bowlers during his 12-ball cameo.
After McCullum’s departure, Patel along with Hodge put together a half-century stand to seal the issue in their team’s favour.
Chasing a small, total, McCullum kicked off the Kochi innings in style, pulling Shaun Tait for a huge six over deep midwicket. The New Zealander then danced down the track to send Oram over his head for another six.
That was the beginning of a brutal assault as McCullum smothered his Kiwi teammate for two more sixes in the same over.
But just as it seemed like he would finish the job on his own, Nayan Doshi had McCullum.
That, however, didn’t disturb Kochi’s momentum as Patel and Hodge carried on from where McCullum had left, finding the ropes at the small Holkar Cricket stadium with consummate ease.
While Hodge smashed two sixes and five boundaries during his 17-ball stay at the wicket, Patel scored two fours and a six during his 14-ball tenure.
Earlier, before Hodge spun his magic with his offbreak bowling, the pace combo of RP Singh and S Sreesanth did the initial damage to push Rajasthan on the backfoot.
Rajasthan made six changes to the squad that played in the last match, and the move backfired.
In an otherwise lacklustre batting display, young Ashok Menaria top-scored for Rajasthan, making a well-crafted 31 with the help of three fours and a six.
RP gave Kochi their first breakthrough when he trapped Faiz Fazal in front of the wicket after the batsman missed a fulltoss.
Though Kochi have a slim chance of making it to the semi-finals, while Rajasthan went out of contention with their seventh defeat in 13 games.