Zee Media Bureau/Chaitan Papnai
Delhi: The Rajasthan Royals are playing impressive cricket under their new skipper Shane Watson. Thus far, Rajasthan have played seven matches, out of which they won five. Like a true leader, the Australian skipper has been leading his side by examples.
In the last match against Kolkata Knight Riders, out of nowhere, RR came to win the match by ten runs. Till the 14th over of the chase, KKR were cruising to victory as both their openers – Gautam Gambhir and Robin Uthappa had completed their fifties and the franchise required just 50 runs off 36 balls.
But then the RR skipper came to bowl the 15th over of the innings, which proved to be the turning point of the match. In that over, Watson first sent Gambhir back to the pavilion to give his team the first breakthrough of the innings. After a gap of one ball, he scalped the wicket of another opener Uthappa. The all-rounder didn`t stop there, as he then bowled a perfect leg-cutter to give KKR third blow of the over in the form of Andre Russell.
Even after the fall of three wickets in quick succession, it could have been anyone`s game. Then Watson wisely gave the ball to leg spinner Pravin Tambe, who had just one over left in the match. And the ageing cricketer didn`t disappoint his skipper and took a hat-trick by taking the wickets of Manish Pandey, Yusuf Pathan and Ryan ten Doeschate, which left KKR reeling at 123 for six. Fall of six wickets within nine deliveries, took the match down to the wire.
In the final over KKR required 17 runs but their two big hitters – Shakib Al Hasan and Suryakumar Yadav -- were still in the middle. Once again the courageous RR skipper took the responsibility to bowl the over and conceded mere six runs.
As a skipper, Watson has shown how to lead a team from the front. In fact other skippers like Gambhir, Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma should learn from Watson, about holding the nerves at crucial junctures.