IPL: Rajasthan Royals fans and players pay tribute to Shane Warne

The last time the Rajasthan Royals reached the IPL finals the late great Shane Warne was their captain, the team is there again and their fans have paid a moving tribute to Warnie.

The Rajasthan Royals have credited their IPL finals berth to the late great Shane Warne with Jos Butler declaring “he made us believe”.

Warne, who died of a suspected heart attacked, aged 52, in March, led the Royals to win their first and only other IPL finals appearance in 2008.

Royals knocked out Virat Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore by seven wickets to book their spot in the final – spurred on by a 132,000 strong crowd who were proudly holding lifesize posters of Warne.

“To be able to get the opportunity to go and play in the final of the biggest T20 tournament in the world is incredibly exciting,” said Buttler, who leads the tournament’s batting chart with 824 runs.

On emulating Warne in reaching the final, Buttler said: “You mention Shane Warne, he is such an influential figure for the Rajasthan Royals and having led the team to success in that first season, we will miss him dearly, but we know he is looking down on us with a lot of pride today.

“He made us believe”.

Chasing 158 for victory at the world’s biggest cricket stadium in Ahmedabad, Rajasthan reached their target with 11 balls to spare in the second qualifier as English batsman Buttler equalled Kohli’s record of four tons in an IPL season.

Fast bowlers Prasidh Krishna and Obed McCoy took three wickets each to restrict Bangalore to 157-8 and set up victory for Rajasthan.

The final will played on Sunday at the same venue after Gujarat, in their debut season, beat Rajasthan in the first qualifier early this week.

Buttler got the Royals off to a flier with a 61-run opening stand in 31 balls with the left-handed Yashasvi Jaiswal who fell to Australian seamer Josh Hazlewood at the start of the sixth over.

The Rajasthan Royals honoured Shane Warne.
The Rajasthan Royals honoured Shane Warne.

Buttler reached his hundred and punched the air in delight and then hit the winning six to extend Bangalore’s wait for a first IPL title.

His 106 not out came from 60 balls and included 10 fours and six sixes. The in-form Englishman hit three centuries in the first half of the IPL before hitting a brief lull only to come back with an 89 albeit in a lost cause in the first playoff.

“I had a season of two halves, and had very honest conversations with people really close to me,” revealed Buttler.

“I was feeling the pressure midway, and it was only about a week ago that I opened up about it. It helped me and I went to Kolkata with a freer mind and that innings gave me the confidence that helped today.” Earlier Bangalore lost Kohli for seven after their former captain hit New Zealand left-arm quick Trent Boult for a six in the opening over but soon fell to Krishna in the next.

Kohli, who hit a matchwinning 73 in his team’s last league match after a largely difficult season featuring three golden ducks, saw a pitch invader touch his gloves after the first ball of the match.

Skipper Faf du Plessis put on a 70-run stand with Rajat Patidar as the pair attempted to take the attack to the opposition bowlers.

Patidar, who made an unbeaten 112 in Wednesday’s eliminator against Lucknow Super Giants, fought a lone battle after being dropped on 13.

Du Plessis did not have any such luck and was caught at first slip for 25 off McCoy, who returned figures of 3-23.

Patidar reached his fifty with a six off leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal but soon fell to Ravichandran Ashwin as Buttler took a well-judged catch at long off.

Wickets kept tumbling as Krishna took two from successive deliveries in the 19th over to return figures of 3-22 from his four.

Originally published as IPL: Rajasthan Royals fans and players pay tribute to Shane Warne