Shane Warne – Rajasthan Royals’ Talisman Retur…

New Delhi: Former Australian leg-spinner Shane Warne is the best thing that could have happened to IPL franchise Rajasthan Royals during the inaugural edition in of the tournament in 2008. During a time when other teams had big names in their ranks, Warne, then mentor-cum-skipper of the outfit, led unassuming Royals to an IPL title win.

At his dispense he had rookie, yet talented players like Ravindra Jadeja, Yusuf Pathan and Swapnil Asnodkar who were yet to make a mark in the international arena. But the man inspired the team to take on some of the stronger teams, and lift the trophy.

Come the season 11 of the tournament, Rajasthan Royals are returning to the tournament after two years, and so is Warne. The Aussie recently announced that he would take the role of mentor with Royals.

It is not just that Warne inspired other players to do well in the tournament, but his bowling was a big plus for the side as well, till the time he played for the team. Here are some of his notable bowling performances:

1. 19/3 (Kings XI Punjab vs Rajasthan Royals 2008)

This was the sixth match of the tournament. After batting first Punjab posted 166 in their allotted 20 overs with Yuvraj Singh (57) scoring a fifty. The southpaw batsman looked in fine nick, and could have taken his side to a bigger total, if not for Shane Warne. The leggie trapped him lbw in front of wicket, and hence stopped the run-flow. Not only that, he got the wickets of James Hopes (16) and Kumar Sangakkara (20) who were looking in fine nick. In the end Rajasthan won the match by six wickets.

2. 23/3 (Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Rajasthan Royals 2008)

The batsmen did the job for the Royals, as they made an imposing 197 runs. Graeme Smith (75), Swapnil Asnodkar (50) and Shane Watson (46) were all among the runs. Having imposed such a daunting total on the board, it was always going to be easy for the Royals to defend. Warne bagged two wickets in one over to rattle the opposition, and ended the match with three wickets to his name.

3. 24/3 (Mumbai Indians vs Rajasthan Royals 2009)

Rajasthan batsmen had failed to put a very big total on the board. Defending a meager 146, Shane Warne and boys won the match only by two runs. Sachin Tendulkar and Abhishek Nayar had done well to take Mumbai close to the total, but Warne came and claimed Master Blaster’s wicket, that changed the complexion of the match. Warne was give man-of-the-match for his efforts with the ball.

4. 21/4 (Deccan Chargers vs Rajasthan Royals 2010)

After batting first, Rajasthan put a decent total of 159, courtesy Faiz Fazal (36) and Shane Watson (58). The match had become a really close affair as Rajathan managed a a two-run win. Rohit Sharma chipped in with 73 runs. Shane Warne came in with four wickets in his quota of overs, as he broke Charger’s backbone. It was largely due to his efforts that none of the batsmen after Symonds could get into double-digit scores.

5. 16/3 (Kochi Tuskers Kerala vs Rajsathan Royals 2011)

The biggest contribution of Warne in the game was not picking wickets, but just giving away 16 runs in his quota of overs. He along with Siddharth Trivedi and Johan Botha stopped Kerala to 109 runs only. Rajathan achieved the target in 14 overs only.