As a rule, I land up supporting the Underdog. And this was no exception - Rajasthan Royals was defninitely the poorest team, with no coach and the only stars to boast of being Shane Warne battling personal problems and looking for redemption, and Graeme Smith.
They had no coach, no Icon as the Indian captain, no real crowd support, no big budgets for advertising and marketing, in fact, they had nothing to lose. Thats what the had going for them.
I LOVED the team spirit, the sheer determination, and never say die attitude that the team displayed. Had they lost yesterday, they had won our hearts anyway...really. Had we even heard of a Swapnil Asnodkar before this? This little guy, all of five foot somethign has held his nerves and undauntedly hit the best of the best for big overs. Niraj Jadeja, who looks more like he ought to be chilling at Barista with his teeny bopper friends had a MAGNIFICENT 69 run (6th wicket) parternship which won them a crucial match.
Each player came into his own in this team, each player found a niche and was supported by his team mates in executing it best. Words fail me in trying to express how proud I feel about a team full of youngsters who have shown so much maturity, so much calm and defeated the 'Icons' of this game - None of our four Icons Tendulkar, Ganguly, Dravid or Sehwag made their mark, faltering in strategy, teamwork, and at times in form altogether. With all the advantages these teams had, they went nowhere.
Have developed new found respect for Shane Warne...images of him patting Shane Watsons back after he (Watson) gave an over of 25 runs and telling him its ok, talking encouragingly to each player (some of whom dont even understand English very well), praising the 'young Swapnil' and Yusuf and the others, giving them the deserved credit, and taking very litle himself, will not leave me for a long time to come.
All in all, Im a little worried about what Im gonna do with all the excitiement and energy Ive managed to build up in the last 45 days. Phew.