01 May 2022
Brief Scores: Rajasthan Royals 158/6 (20) lost to Mumbai Indians (161/5) by 5 wickets.
"Never give up. Just absolutely never give up."
Shane Warne's inspiring words reverberated through the DY Patil Stadium on Saturday, where the Royals put up a commendable fight in their match against Mumbai Indians. Memories of Warnie’s brilliance came flooding back on a night dedicated to celebrating his legendary career and life, as both teams and the spectators at the ground paid their tributes with a one-minute applause before the start of the match. It was an emotional moment as our players stepped out wearing special jerseys, while our support staff and friends & family of the great man donned a special pink, cheering for the team from the dugout and the stands.
Once again, the toss wasn’t our best friend as we were put in to bat first. It didn’t look like an easy wicket to bat on, but our batters tried their best to negate the two-paced nature of the pitch and finished with a decent total on the board. Captain Sanju Samson admitted in his post-match presentation that we were probably a few runs short towards the end. The dew came into picture in the second half of the game, making it difficult for our bowlers to grip the ball. Despite challenging conditions and a tight score to defend, the Royals ensured they didn’t lose hope till the end. The result may not have gone our way, but it is the fighting spirit of this team that would’ve surely made Warnie proud, had he been around.
As with every game, we take our share of learnings and positives, and move on to our next frontier with one aim - to get better every day.
Here are the top moments from the match:
Jos continues to stand tall
A tough batting surface meant that our openers had to adjust quickly and be watchful at the start. Once again, Jos Buttler stood out with his cautious approach, altering his natural style of batting and waiting for his opportunity at the death. For the most part, the opener just kept rotating the strike with quick singles and twos, and occasional boundaries. It wasn’t until the 16th over that Jos really broke the shackles with four sixes off spinner Hrithik Shokeen’s over, before eventually falling on the final ball. His 52-ball 67 included five fours and four sixes, giving a real impetus to the innings just when things were starting to look bleak.
All-round Ashwin impresses
Whether he’s promoted up the batting order or given two overs to bowl in the Powerplay, Ravichandran Ashwin has ensured he delivers the goods when his team needs him to. When the batters have been in trouble, a couple of lusty blows from Ashwin’s bat have helped ease the pressure on his partner at the other end. With the ball, his miserly spells have also made a huge difference at the most critical stages of the game, putting the pressure back on the opponent. With three fours and a six in just nine deliveries in this match, Ashwin first batted like a dream and then came back to tighten the screws with the ball. Barring one six from Suryakumar Yadav in the 14th over, the off-spinner didn’t concede a single boundary in his entire spell of four overs. He finished with figures of 1/21.
With the bat, we were a few runs short. With the ball, we couldn’t pick up timely wickets often enough. But in both innings we fought back and almost edged in front. It's this never-say-die attitude that Warnie created at the Royals back in 2008, and he'd have been proud of the way this team gave their 100% in conditions that didn’t really favour them. But credit where it’s due - Mumbai Indians played better cricket for the most part of the match.
At the end of the day, it felt like this wasn't just about the result of a cricket match. It was a beautiful evening of reminiscence and celebration, no matter what would have happened in those 40 overs. It was a day when every cricket fan celebrated Warnie the cricketer, Warnie the man, and Warnie - the First Royal.