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Farewell gone wrong

Shane Warne's lacklustre adieu to cricket at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium didn't befit a legend as Chris Gayle spoils his last match at home with a blistering unbeaten 70. Khurram Habib reports.Scorecard | Local tunes | Pics

cricket Updated: May 13, 2011 02:38 IST
Khurram Habib
Khurram Habib
Hindustan Times
Jaipur

No fairytale finish, no magical turnaround and no adrenaline. Shane Warne's lacklustre adieu to cricket at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium didn't befit a legend.

He walked in for the toss in a sombre mood. For once, the crowd backed him to the hilt, since there was no Sachin Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh or Mahendra Singh Dhoni to hog the attention as in previous games.

But his batsmen failed him once again, despite the openers — Rahul Dravid and Shane Watson — laying the platform. A 146-run total isn't a match-winning one, especially if your bowlers are short on ideas to tackle Tillakaratne Dilshan and Chris Gayle.

In five overs, the marauding Royal Challengers Bangalore duo had racked up 50. Warne didn't bring himself on till the seventh. Though he was trying to motivate the likes of Pankaj Singh and Siddharth Trivedi, there was nothing much he could do.

And then, there was more salt on the wounds. Gayle scooped off Johan Botha, but Warne missed it, the ball deflecting off his hands to the fence. He strolled to the other end, shook his head and the writing was on the wall.

When he finally came on, the crowd roared. It seemed they were desperate to see him end on a high. He gave them a moment when Dilshan was caught in the deep off his first over. It was a subdued celebration, just the raise of the arms.

RCB kept the scorecard ticking while Warne and his men went through the motions. Gayle wasn't explosive, but was immovable. http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/HTEditImages/Images/12_05_pg17b.jpg

Warne took a break after his third over, his figures reading a decent 3-0-15-1. The Jaipur crowd had at least seen him salvage some respect.

The other bowlers couldn't do anything special.

Pankaj Singh, in his first game of this IPL, had leaked 11 runs in his first over and was held back. Trivedi was innocuous and Watson didn't look like someone who could run through the batting line-up.

For a change, Botha was leaking runs as Gayle and Dilshan had him sorted.

With 32 needed off 36 deliveries, Warne brought himself on for the last time.

He ran his fingers through his hair and the crowd again roared, though not as loudly as they'd done on the first occasion.

Mixing the first four deliveries, he earned Gayle's respect. And then, the giant from the Caribbean unleashed two hits — a six over long-off and a four through square leg — that brought tears in Warne's eyes.