Rajasthan Royals (RR) mentor Shane Warne had left India ahead of the playoffs of the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) season but the Australian legend, away in Melbourne, was rooting for his franchise during the Eliminator against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) on Wednesday, May 23.
Warne was actively tweeting about the match. The 48-year-old went from being ecstatic about the Royals' bowling performance to ending up disappointed after the visitors gifted the match to the Knight Riders at the Eden Gardens.
Ajinkya Rahane's men got off to a solid start after winning the toss as off-spinner Krishnappa Gowtham and pacer Jofra Archer struck early to leave KKR reeling at 24 for 3. However, Dinesh Karthik (38-ball 52), Shubman Gill (17-ball 28) and Andre Russell (25-ball 49) helped the hosts post a decent total (169) on what played out to be a two-paced surface.
The Royals did not put a foot wrong in the first half of their 170-run chase and were cruising at 109 for 1 in 14 overs before losing skipper Rahane (46 off 41). Sanju Samson, who was looking flawless at the middle, departed right after scoring his half-century, thereby letting the momentum slip away from his team.
KKR seized the opportunity and made life difficult for new batsmen Heinrich Klaasen and Gowtham, who had walked in when the Royals needed 43 off their last three overs. The likes of Prasidh Krishna and Russell gave nothing away towards the death and helped KKR clinch a comfortable 25 run-win.
Check out Warne's live Twitter commentary here.
Warne started the day by wishing luck to his team. He was ecstatic after the Royals show with the ball in the powerplay.
Notably, KKR lost four big wickets — Sunil Narine, Chris Lynn, Robin Uthappa and Nitish Rana — inside the first six overs.
Coooooooooome on @rajasthanroyals ! What a start, I think KKR at least 4 down after the power play. Great to see the plans coming off too - awesome !!!!!!! ?— Shane Warne (@ShaneWarne) May 23, 2018
Warne was delighted seeing leg-spinners Shreyas Gopal and Ish Sodhi bowl miserly spells on Wednesday. The two conceded only 49 runs in eight overs between them.
Despite Russel's quickfire knock at the death, Warne seemed to be happy with the Royals' bowling performance. He backed his boys to finish the chase as early as in the 18th over.
Warne was happy with the start and the 62-run stand between skipper Rahane and Samson got him over the moon.
Great effort from the @rajasthanroyals boys ! It’s a final & the big players stand up, well played Russell. Boys will get these in the 18th over, Samson 70+ !!!!— Shane Warne (@ShaneWarne) May 23, 2018
Come on you @rajasthanroyals ! We’ve got this 83 of 60 balls with 9 wkts in hand ! If my man @IamSanjuSamson gets 70+ as predicted & the skipper Jinx keeps a cool head then we’ve got this ! Ps how annoying is the KKR skipper DK, get on with the game please !— Shane Warne (@ShaneWarne) May 23, 2018
74 runs off 48 balls & 9 wkts in hand. Come on @rajasthanroyals @IamSanjuSamson & the skipper Jinx. Let’s not leave to much to do at the end ! Let’s win this in the 18th over !!!!!— Shane Warne (@ShaneWarne) May 23, 2018
Ps Agree re the KKR skipper ? Still taking forever - get on with the game
Here comes the twist in the tale. As the Royals fumbled towards the end overs after losing both Rahane and Samson, Warne did not hold back but lashed out at his team. He also was "annoyed" with Karthik for talking a lot of time to set his field right.
Noooooooooooooooo !!!!!— Shane Warne (@ShaneWarne) May 23, 2018
Come on boys ! 5 boundaries in the last 14 balls we win ! Calm head is the key as the bowler is under enourmous pressure !!!— Shane Warne (@ShaneWarne) May 23, 2018
What a disappointing end this is, wasted to many balls & didn’t take the game on in the middle. That game was there to win & the boys should have got over the line ! Very proud of the entire squad though as they tried their best ! Just hurts as that’s a game we should have won !— Shane Warne (@ShaneWarne) May 23, 2018
Warne, despite not being with the squad, was excited about the Royals entering the playoffs. Notably, the IPL title-winning captain was quite confident about his team reaching the final as he had said he would be back in India for the big match in Mumbai on Sunday, May 27.
Good luck to the @rajasthanroyals in the play offs. Apologies I can’t be there with you on Wednesday & Friday, but will see you Sunday for the final. Remember the things we’ve spoken about re playing finals / big games - you’re ready & I’m so proud of you all. You’ve got this ?— Shane Warne (@ShaneWarne) May 22, 2018
While the Royals will head home, the Knight Riders will take on Sunrisers Hyderabad at the Eden Gardens on Friday, May 25 for a spot in the final where one of them will face two-time champions Chennai Super Kings.