There are few better sights in cricket than watching Shane Warne bowling to Adam Gilchrist. What adds spice is the not-so-friendly chemistry the duo shared during their playing days for Australia.
Quite naturally the air turned thick with excitement and anticipation when Warne brought himself on to have a crack at Gilchrist. The left-hander nudged the first ball away quietly, missed the second, and sent the third sailing over long on, declaring war.
Unfortunately, Gilchrist fell to Ravindra Jadeja in the next over, cutting short what could have been an engrossing contest between two masters.
The tactical warfare, however, was still on, and was no less exciting. The veterans deployed various tactics to stay one-up, but eventually Warne had the last laugh when the Rajasthan Royals got home in the last over.
Warne made the first tactical move, bringing Yusuf Pathan to open the attack. The wily skipper probably didn’t want to offer pace and room to Gilchrist to allow him unleash his ferocious pulls and cuts, but the left-hander brought out some booming drives to pour cold water on this plan.
On the whole, however, the plan to bring the spinners on early workdd as Yusuf trapped Herschelle Gibbs leg before and Gilchrist, too, couldn’t launch an all-out assault in the first six overs. And once he fell to Jadeja for 39, Warne must have had a quiet chuckle.
After Gilchrist fell, Warne had things under control through the innings. Rohit Sharma and T. Suman did chip in with useful contributions, but the Royals never really let them get into top gear.
Gilchrist, in reply, stuck to the more traditional approach of unleashing his fast bowlers at the start, and was rewarded with three wickets in the first two overs. The Royals, however, absorbed the shocks well, and kept the scoreboard moving with Lee Carseldine scoring 39 before he was unfortunate to be adjudged lbw. Warne played another strategic stroke by promoting himself ahead of Yusuf. But was he leaving Pathan with too much to do by pushing him low down the order?
The inimitable Pathan, however, seems unmindful of situation and circumstance.
Deccan Chargers innings
H Gibbs lbw b Pathan 8 (10b, +1x4), A Gilchrist c Pathan b Jadeja 39 (35b, 5x4, 2x6), A Bilakhia c Trivedi b Harwood 1 (5b), R Sharma c Warne b Trivedi 38 (32b, 2x4, 2x6), T Suman not out 41 (30b, 2x4, 1x6), D Smith c Warne b Harwood 7 (8b, 1x4), Y Venugopal Rao not out 0 (0b).
Extras (lb 3, w 4) 7
Total (5 wickets) 141
Fall of wkts: 1-34, 2-35, 3-, 4-, 5-135
Bowling: Y Pathan 4-0-19-1, M Patel 2-0-23-0, R Jadeja 4-0-22-1 (3w), S Harwood 4-0-25-2, S Warne 3-0-29-0 (1w), A Raut 1-0-7-0, S Trivedi 2-0-13-1.
G Smith c Shoaib b Edwards 0 (2b), S Asnodkar run out 0 (4b, 1x4), L Carseldine lbw b Rao 39 (32b, 6x4), N Ojha c Gibbs b Singh 0 (6b), R Jadeja c Smith b Rao 12 (17b, 1x6), S Warne c Gilchrist b Ojha 21 (17b, 2x6), A Raut not out 36 (23b, 4x4), Y Pathan c Gibbs b Singh 24 (14b, 2x4, 2x6), S Harwood not out 3 (7b).
Extras (b1, lb2, w3, nb1) 7.
Total (7 wkts19.4 overs) 142
Fall of wkts: 1-0, 2-1, 3-3, 4-54, 5-57, 6-93, 7-131
Bowling: F Edwards 3.4-0-17-1 (1w), RP Singh 4-1-18-2 (1nb), D Smith 2-0-21-0, R Sharma 2-0-14-0 (1w), P Ojha 4-0-27-1 (1w), Rao 2-0-23-2, S Shoaib 2-0-19-0.