Cricket World Rewind: #OnThisDay - Shane Warne engineers inaugural IPL win for Rajasthan Royals with rookie brigade
June 1, 2008 - The triumph of Rajasthan Royals in the inaugural edition of the Indian Premier League is just another example of what can be achieved through determination, raw skill and the right leadership.
A team comprising Swapnil Asnodkar, Siddharth Trivedi, Ravindra Jadeja, Yusuf Pathan and Niraj Patel won the inaugural edition of the IPL. And, who did they beat? They beat CSK, a side which had Makhaya Ntini, Muttiah Muralitharan, MS Dhoni, Albie Morkel and Suresh Raina in the ranks.
Rajasthan Royals were the weakest team on paper when picked in the first-ever auctions of the league. No one gave them a chance but the team had some serious brains behind it in Shane Warne, Shane Watson and Graeme Smith.
The Royals formed a solid core around the three and Pakistani internationals Sohail Tanvir and Karman Akmal and then made the most of the Indian talent that they had, so much so that the likes of Ravindra Jadeja and Yusuf Pathan went on to become national stars.
Rajasthan Royals had already won hearts when they qualified for the maiden IPL final, but the job was still not done as they faced the star-studded Chennai Super Kings in the final.
As it turned out, Parthiv Patel gave CSK a steady start. But, it was the controlled yet quick innings from Suresh Raina at number three that kept CSK going. MS Dhoni, who had just led India to the 2007 T20 World Cup Trophy, was now determined to win the IPL title as well. His 29 off 17 balls at a strike rate of over 170 helped CSK post 163 runs on the board.
Yusuf Pathan was the main man for RR with the ball and ended with figures of 4-22-3 .
Rajasthan were in a spot of bother at 42/3 just after the powerplay but all-rounders Shane Watson and Yusuf Pathan ensured that there was no collapse. Pathan was at his best and smoked Muttiah Muralitharan for consecutive sixes. He then lofted Balaji for another maximum to bring up his half-century before being run-out off a direct hit from Suresh Raina.
18 were required off the last two overs when Warne smashed a boundary of Makhaya Ntini's last ball of the penultimate over to bring the equation down to 8 needed off the last over, with Shane Warne and Sohail Tanvir at the crease.
The duo did it quite intelligently, knocking singles in the gaps apart from a boundary from Tanvir off a full toss from Balaji. Tanvir pinched another single on the last ball to take RR across the line.
It was only befitting that Shane Warne, who had been the coach, captain and the architect of Rajasthan, was on the field when the underdogs beat the favourites.
Apart from Warne, Sohail Tanvir, Shane Watson ,Yusuf Pathan and Graeme Smith were the stars for Rajasthan Royals. Smith was unfortunate to miss the final due to a hamstring injury but ended as one of the top five scorers of the tournament.
Yusuf Pathan, who was named Man of the Match in the final, was there 3rd highest run-scorer in the season with 435 runs at a strike rate of almost 180.
Sohail Tanvir finished with the Purple cap with 22 wickets, with Warne just behind him with 19. But it was Shane Watson who had a huge role to play. The all-rounder picked up 17 wickets at an economy of 7.07 and also blasted 472 runs at an average of 47.20 and a strike rate of over 150.
With a bunch of young and inexperienced players, Shane Warne succeeded in marshalling his troops extraordinarily and engineering a title win that is still remembered fondly.
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