New Delhi: Rajasthan Royals batsman Brad Hodge was extremely happy with his effort that helped his side beat Sunrisers Hyderabad in IPL 6 Eliminator on Wednesday night. Chasing 133 to win, Rajasthan were reduced to 57 for 5 at one time at the Feroz Shah Kotla here and were facing exit but Hodge held his nerve with an unbeaten 54 guiding the 2008 champions into the second qualifier against Mumbai Indians to be played on Friday.
"This is the most thrilling game I have ever played in the IPL. I have played for KKR and the Kochi Tuskers Kerala in the past editions. This is the second time with RR and I am delighted to win the game for the team," Hodge told iplt20.com after the win. "It was a close contest and that is exactly where you need your experience to get a team over the line," he added.
Hodge was happy that he brought smiles back on the players' faces, especially Rahul Dravid, the captain, after all that has transpired over the last seven days regarding spot-fixing by three Rajasthan players. "Rahul was delighted when I walked back to the dug-out. It has been an emotional week for us, an emotional week at the bench and it is a really good result for Rajasthan Royals and especially for Rahul," the Aussie, highest T20 run-scorer in the world, said.
The 38-year-old also admitted the deck at Kolta wasn't fit of Rajasthan's style of play. "The wicket was a fraction slow that suited the type of cricket Hyderabad have been playing through the tournament. We wanted to try and be aggressive early on in the innings. We got a decent start but faltered mid-way. It did not go according to the script, but I am glad we got there in the end."
Taking Rajasthan to the final is now the Aussie's next aim. "Everyone wants to play in the final and it is satisfying to see that you are just a step away from the final. We have had a great season this year and have been one of the top teams in the competition and it was only fitting that we got a chance to play and get closer to grabbing the trophy."
Rajasthan need to beat Mumbai on Friday to set up a final clash with Chennai Super Kings at Kolkata's Eden Gardens on Sunday. Chennai beat Mumbai in the first qualifier on Tuesday to reach their fourth successive final.