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Rajasthan Royals produced a disciplined all-round performance to notch up a nine-wicket victory over Perth Scorchers and seal their semi-final berth in the Champions League Twenty20. Riding on a fine bowling performance by Kevon Cooper (4/18) and unbeaten half-centuries by Ajinkya Rahane (62) and Sanju Samson (50), Rajasthan continued their unbeaten run in the tournament.
The hosts didn’t put a foot wrong as they bundled out Perth for 120 in their stipulated 20 overs and returned to overhaul the target in just 16.3 overs, losing just one wicket. Rajasthan now have 12 points from three matches and play their last league match on Tuesday against Otago, who are second with 10 points after three outings. Mumbai Indians are also in the reckoning with six points.
Chasing 121, Rajasthan lost skipper Rahul Dravid (2) in the first over but Rahane and Samson didn’t let it affect them. The duo added 120 for the second wicket, sharing 11 boundaries and four sixes between them in 95 balls at the Sawai Man Singh stadium.
The duo complimented each other and picked up boundaries regularly. Rahane hit Joel Paris for a boundary off the second ball he faced in the second over, and Samson flicked a Jason Behrendorff delivery to fine leg area for another four in the next over. He finished the over with another boundary.
Rahane was not lagging behind, and he pulled Paris for a six over deep fine leg in the next over, while Samson welcomed Joe Mennie with a four in his fourth delivery in the fifth over. Samson blasted a six and a four within the space of three balls, spread over two overs to take Rajasthan across the fifty mark.
In the 14th over, Rahane was dropped. He made Perth pay, blasting Beer for a six in the next over to not only bring up his fifty but also Rajasthan’s 100. Samson reached his fifty with a four and a single in the 17th over as Rajasthan romped home.
Earlier, Cooper led a disciplined bowling attack, who dominated the batsmen. Beside Cooper, Pravin Tambe (2/17), James Faulkner (2/16) and Shane Watson (1/23) also contributed with the ball.
Adam Voges was the top scorer with 27 made off 21 balls and the rest of the batting wasted starts and could never build momentum. Half of the side, including Voges, were back in the pavillion within 11.3 overs, with the score reading 77. After that,