Since the inception of IPL, Rajasthan Royals have not insisted on a professional coach. Though the approach is different from other teams, they have been comfortable with it.
Under Shane Warne, the Royals went without a head coach. Yet, it was Royals who lifted the crown in the first edition of IPL. Even for the 2013 season, they brought in former India mental conditioning coach, Paddy Upton.
Well-versed with dealing with matters of the mind, he helped a team shaken by the spot-fixing controversy to rise as they stormed into the final of the Champions League T20 on Friday, overcoming Chennai Super Kings in the first semifinal. Scorecard
The 14-run win was their 13th on the trot at home. As they dismantled the defending champions, Upton’s positive influence was evident.
The 41-year-old leggie, Pravin Tambe, the tournament’s leading wicket-taker with 10 scalps, bowled a sharp line and length. After the wicket of Suresh Raina, Tambe raised both arms as teammates embraced him. That was Tambe’s third wicket, pretty much ensuring it was game over for the visitors. Chasing 160 for a spot in the final, CSK fell short.
As Royals skipper Rahul Dravid walked back to the dug out in the evening, everyone was on their feet. All through his career, Dravid has received standing ovation for his grand deeds with the bat, but the reasons were different this time.
But he ended his love affair with Jaipur on a tame note. Playing across the line to Chris Morris, who was playing in his first game this CLT20, Dravid had his stumps rattled.
At the other end, Ajinkya Rahane continued to remind the national selectors of his worth. Ignored for the upcoming ODIs against the visiting Australians, the batsman followed up on his 62 and 52 against Perth Scorchers and Otago Volts with a fluent 70 that helped put the total just beyond CSK in the end.
Brief scores: Rajasthan Royals 159/8 (A Rahane 70, D Bravo 3/26) v CSK 145/8 (R Ashwin 46, P Tambe 3/10). RR won by 14 runs.