Rajasthan secure home semi-final

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Three wickets in a solitary over from seamer Rahul Shukla and quickfire half-centuries from batsmen Ajinkya Rahane and Brad Hodge brought the Rajasthan Royals a four-wicket win over the Otago Volts in Tuesday's Champions League Twenty20 fixture at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur.

Three wickets in a solitary over from seamer Rahul Shukla and quickfire half-centuries from batsmen Ajinkya Rahane and Brad Hodge brought the Rajasthan Royals a four-wicket win over the Otago Volts in Tuesday's Champions League Twenty20 fixture at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur.

The result saw the Royals finish at the top of Group A and secure a semi-final – against the Chennai Super Kings, Titans or Trinidad and Tobago, at their home venue, where they remain unbeaten this season. The Volts, too, are guaranteed a place in the final four.

Rajasthan's decision to bowl first after captain Rahul Dravid triumphed at the toss proved the right choice, with all-rounder Jimmy Neesham's standalone 32 as good as it got in a final Otago total of 139 for seven. The tally, indeed, would have read considerably stronger – had Shukla not removed opener Hamish Rutherford, captain Brendon McCullum and wicketkeeper-batsman Derek de Boorder in quick succession.

The Indian franchise's response was not entirely convincing, banking on Rahane and Hodge's collective effort after batsmen three through five managed a mere eight runs between them and all-rounder James Faulkner departed for just two.

Neesham, complemented by fast bowler Neil Wagner's brace, had hoped to upset the proverbial apple cart en route to telling figures of three for 22. The hard-hitting Hodge, however, struck all of five fours and three sixes during an unbeaten 52 off 23 deliveries. The veteran Australian ultimately capped victory with five deliveries to spare.

"In the end, you know, it got pretty nerve-wracking in those last five overs. Incredible innings from Hodge there to get us over the line. I think there is a lot of belief in our group and a good environment among the group and I think the young guys who come in know they are backed and that they are in the team for specific reasons," said Dravid, after the match.

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