Brad Hodge put in an impressive all-round performance to help Kochi Tuskers Kerala post an easy eight-wicket win over the Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League 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.
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.
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.
Rajasthan skipper Shane Warne, who has endured a controversial tournament which saw him involved in a row with local officials, apologized for his team’s display.
“Apologies to all RR fans, sponsors, owners. Horror performance today — boys feeling embarrassed. I take responsibility as capt — not good enough,” the Australian wrote on his Twitter account. “I can say this 100% — the boys have worked hard and tried their heart out, but at the end of the day — just haven’t performed — simple as that.”
In Sunday’s other match, Paul Valthaty cracked a brisk 62 and Piyush Chawla took three wickets to help Kings XI Punjab score a 29-run win over the Delhi Daredevils.
Bangalore lead the 10-team league table with 17 points, followed by Chennai (16), Mumbai (16), Kolkata (14), Punjab (12), Kochi (12), Rajasthan (11), Pune (8), Deccan (8) and Delhi (8).
Opener Valthaty added 102 for the second wicket with Australian Shaun Marsh (46) as Punjab made 170-6, before they restricted bottom-placed Delhi to 141-8 to keep alive their hopes of qualifying for the semi-finals. Leg-spinner Chawla finished with 3-16 off four overs.
Marsh’s best came in the 13th over when he hammered left-arm spinner Sridharan Sriram for 24 runs off five balls, including three sixes. He also hit five fours in his 28-ball knock.
Valthaty, who hit Australian paceman James Hopes for 18 runs in an over, smashed three sixes and six fours in his 50-ball knock.
Paceman Irfan Pathan was the most successful bowler with three wickets, including those of Valthaty and Marsh in one over.
Delhi failed to capitalize on a 52-run stand for the opening wicket between Australian David Warner (29) and Naman Ojha (28), losing five wickets in the space of 40 runs.
Seamer Shalabh Srivastava did the early damage when he dismissed both the openers in successive overs, while Chawla got two wickets and seamer Valthaty one to reduce Delhi to 92-5.