Rajasthan Royals: The team to beat


Himanshu Singhal,CNN-IBN
May 30, 2008 at 02:10am IST

New Delhi: Winning is a habit and the Rajasthan Royals have definitely maintained that.

Shane Warne and his men assured themselves of the top spot on the league table after a thrilling victory on Monday. And it will take a special effort to stop them from going all the way.

For the Royals its virtually as if they find a hero a day. At 77 for 5 with their big guns gone, a proud home record was about to be stained.

TOP GUN: Shane Warne and his men grabbed the top spot on the league table.

But the unheralded pair of Niraj Patel and Ravindar Jadeja scripted yet another unforgettable Houdini act. Patel made 40 in an unbroken 69 run stand with Jadeja and scrambled the last two runs of the last ball as if his life depended on it.

"I knew what I had to do. We just decided to go for it, whatever ball comes - just go for the hit," said Niraj Patel.

For the statistically minded, the celebrations at the end of the game were about seven straight home wins. The leader of these men though was focussed on the men not the numbers.

"One of our slogans is to find a way to win and play your role. You might have to go out there and might have to play just one ball or three balls but be the man, be the hero," said Shane Warne.

That isn't an empty boast. Warne has put together a bunch of warriors that is responding to every challenge they are confronted with. Bowlers steam in unmindful of reputations and batsmen play without fear. It is uncluttered, uncomplicated cricket.

"I'm against coaches in international cricket. One might need a coach at first class or domestic cricket but not in international cricket. I call this IPL international cricket and I don't think here you need a coach," explained Warne.

Given all that has happened over this summer's bonanza of cricket who can contest that view? The Royals are truly the team to beat and for now that seems like a near impossible task.

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