A few days ago, when former Australia skipper, Steve Waugh, had said it was time the Rajasthan Royals appointed a permanent coach, Shane Warne had dismissed Waugh's concern by saying, "In first-class cricket, coaches are important because you need them in developing players. In international cricket, you won't qualify if you can't play. The only reason I am captain and coach is because we don't need a coach."
On Friday, Warne backed his statement with an eight-wicket win over the Deccan Chargers, thus putting to rest lingering doubts over his role as captain and coach. The Royals were cavorting as early as the fourth ball of the match when Sumit Narwal got rid of Adam Gilchrist. The Royals, it seemed, had done their homework and Narwal’s medium-pace did the trick. Gilchrist likes the ball to come on to the bat and trying to force Narwal over mid-on, he was caught by Yusuf Pathan.
Bringing on Abhishek Jhunjhunwala in the second over proved costly, but a quick change in bowling got the Royals another breakthrough. Shaun Tait dug a short one at VVS Laxman and the Hyderabadi, rattled by pace, miscued a pull shot to mid-on.
The highlight of the Royals' bowling was their quick thinking and cohesion on the field.
Combining pace and spin, Warne always looked a step ahead and handled his attack with imagination. Finally, it was Rohit Sharma who formed the bulwark of the Chargers' innings. In a fine rearguard action, the Mumbai lad paced his innings nicely despite losing partners at regular intervals. His doggedness took the visitors to 148.
The Chargers have a decent bowling attack, especially with the in-form Chaminda Vaas in their ranks. But even the veteran Sri Lanka seamer looked ineffective and RP Singh was clueless against an explosive Michael Lumb. The Royals' opener hit seven fours in his 32-ball 45.
Yusuf heightened the mayhem with his brutal sixes and riding on the 34-ball 73, the Royals cantered home in just 15.4 overs.