24 Apr 08 - Rajiv Gandhi Int. Stadium, Hyderabad : 17 off the last over – Pankaj Singh manages 3 off the first two deliveries and hands the strike back to skipper Shane Warne. It’s now 14 required off four deliveries – Andrew Symonds the bowler, Shane Warne the batsman. Warne smashes – 4, 6, 6 to setup the second win for the Rajasthan Royals in a cliff-hanger. There could not have been a better script.

 

Warne inspired and setup a brilliant win for the Rajasthan Royals in probably the most thrilling contest of the IPL T20 tournament thus far. Having won the toss, Warne put the Deccan Chargers into bat who started with a bang. The brilliance of Shane Warne did the opposition in once again as he introduced Yousuf Pathan in the third over. Pathan obliged by snapping Gilchrist off the first ball and Afridi off the sixth. Laxman and Symonds then steadied the innings to take the score to 75, before the Royals’ captain got his counterpart.

 

There on was brilliance – the competition witnessed the fastest century by Aussie powerhouse Andrew Symonds. The assault included taking on Warne, as Symonds ended unbeaten on 117 off 53 balls, ably supported by Rohit Sharma.

 

However, Rajasthan Royals would have been confident having Watson and the inclusion of Graeme Smith to chase the target down. The reply started with Akmal hammering a 4 and a 6 in his short stay, which then bought Yousuf Pathan. After a quiet first few deliveries, Pathan got after the Deccan attack as the Royals bought their 50 in just 28 deliveries. He then went on to compile the fastest fifty of the tournament off just 21 deliveries that included a staggering 6 sixes. Pathan, along with Smith also raised the fastest 100 of the tournament that came of only 52 balls. The Rajasthan Royals then lost Pathan and Watson in quick succession, which bought Kaif.

 

Kaif, who has had a quite tournament so far, responded and rose to the occasion. He took a liking to Symonds’ bowling and hit 3 sixes off one particular Symonds over. In the meanwhile, Graeme Smith showed his class act as he scored his fifty off 34 balls. The Royals seemed to be cruising to victory when Shahid Afridi got Kaif and Smith in succession and nearly had Jadeja hold out. It was downside for the Royals there on as they went on to loose both Jadeja and Salunkhe in the penultimate over.

 

It was left to Warne, as the Rajasthan Royals needed 17 off the last over. Warne played a captains innings and returned the favour to Symonds by hitting him for a four and 2 sixes to setup a thrilling win for the Royals.

 

Symonds could have been thinking of a party – but Warne certainly gatecrashed it!

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