New Delhi: After a week full of turmoil, the Rajasthan Royals managed to escape the Sunrisers Hyderabad test thanks to a brilliant 29-ball 54 by Brad Hodge. And no wonder it was their skipper Rahul Dravid who looked the most relaxed and satisfied with the victory.
"To come and play a game like this and get over the line is fantastic. There were a few signs of nerves in the middle period but we managed to prevail in the end." (Read full match report here)
Dravid did not just applaud Hodge for his brilliance on the day but was also happy that someone or the other always put their hands up throughout the tournament.
"Someone or the other always put his hands up when chips are down, throughout the IPL... Today it was Brad Hodge. What a guy he (Hodge) is on and off the field. He can score 500 runs in a season if he gets to bat at the top. He is the best finisher we have and that is why he bats down the order." (Also read: Stats from the match)
He also directed a few mindgames towards the Mumbai Indians - Rajasthan's opponents in the all-important Qualifier-2 in Kolkata on Friday.
"We (Rajasthan and Hyderabad) are similar teams in certain ways.. both were underdogs, not many big names in the side. Mumbai though have lot of big names.. pressure is on them, we will enjoy ourselves as underdogs. We are a moneyball team and today was really good for the Royals."
Hodge, who was the hero for Rajasthan in the chase, was modest in the post-match presentation.
"Luckily for me I got a few in the middle and found some momentum despite the team being under the pump at one stage."
The 38-year old Australian was also quite comic when asked about his demeanour in the last couple of overs as the pressure mounted.
"I was trying Chris Gayle's distance at the end rather than Hodge's distance.. trying too hard then," said Hodge refering to him trying too hard in the 19th over and not connecting any before hitting back-to-back sixes in the 20th to complete a fine victory.
He also took the spot-fixing saga in his stride and was seen celebrating in Darren Sammy style after the win.
"It has been quite a frustrating week for us and now we did what we enjoy to do - play the sport and win. It is all fun and games... There's been a lot of celebration going on in the tournament and I was just trying to show that I have got children too with my celebration."
Rajasthan bowler James Faulkner, again with fine figures of 1/28, was happy to be on the winning side.
"If it comes down to last couple of overs, it is good to be on the winning side. Well played by Sunrisers but equally well by Brad Hodge to take us through. I thought a lot more runs could have been scored here but did not happen."
Even Hyderabad skipper Cameron White, whose 31 off 28 balls had provided crucial momentum to give the Sunrisers a fighting total, was in awe of the awesome knock by Hodge.
"Hodge showed his true class today but overall great effort by us despite being a brand new franchise."
White lauded his boys' effort, not only on the day but in the whole edition.
"It was a good toss to win but we were 20 runs too short.. We are a young side but will be back next year."