Rajasthan Royals marched into the semi-finals of the Champions League T20 with a convincing nine-wicket win over the Perth Scorchers. Chasing a modest total of 120, Rajasthan Royals achieved the target with 21 balls to spare, thanks to an entertaining 120-run partnership between Ajinkya Rahane and Sanju Samson.
Rahane opened the innings with Rahul Dravid and stayed unbeaten on 62 off 53 deliveries while Samson, coming out at number 3, smashed a half century of just 42 deliveries.
Earlier, Rahul Dravid won the toss and Rajasthan Royals captain opted to bowl first, in the second match of the day in Jaipur, on the back on an absolute cliff hanger between Otago Volts and Highveldt Lions.
The Scorchers opened their innings with Ashton Agar but the young left hander could do precious little as they lost both their openers within the score of 30. Left -arm spinner Ashok Menaria and left-arm pace James Faulkner bowled tight lines and didn’t let the Scorchers have any momentum.
However, the Scorchers’ innings took a complete nose dive after the introduction of the leg spinner Pravin Tambe and the West Indian Kevon Cooper. The 42-year-old leggie, bowled immaculate lines and enticed the Scorchers skipper Simon Katich to lose his wicket while Cooper went on a rampage as he broke the back of the Scorchers middle order.
The Scorchers succumbed to the relentless pressure applied by the two bowlers and their innings never took off as they kept losing wickets at regular intervals.
Tambe ended with figures of 2/17 in his 4 overs while Cooper claimed four scalps for just 18 runs as the Scorchers limped to a score of 120 all out in their quota of 20 overs.
The Royals innings got off to a bad start as their skipper Rahul Dravid fell for a duck to the young left-armer Behrendorff. Dravid moved away towards the leg, looking to swing the ball to the leg side and missed a straight one that crashed into the middle stumps after sliding off his pads.
From then onwards, it was the Samson-Rahane show. The Indian duo made merry of some ordinary bowling and took the game away from the grasp of the Scorchers.
Samson, the 18-year-old wicket keeper, looked in sublime touch as he punished the loose ball at will and scored at a rapid clip while Rahane looked to rotate the strike. However, after reaching his 40s, Rahane ended the game with a flourish and nudged ahead of his free-striking partner.
The win today for Rajsthan takes them to the top of the table and confirms their place in the semi-finals while making it a near impossible task for the Mumbai Indians to go ahead in the tournament.