Cape Town - Shane Warne, the Rajasthan Royals' player/coach, said Saturday's IPL 'Clash of Champions' against the Cape Cobras gave him a chance to see some of the players in his squad in action for the first time.
The Cobras who batted first after winning the toss scored 142/8 in their allotted 20 overs. The Royals' reply crumbled after 19 overs with their score on 114 all out, ensuring victory for the SA Pro20 champions by 28 runs.
Warne said he made a conscious decision to give several untried bowlers a run when the Cobras innings stood at 65/5. "I did not want it to be a 100-run innings because I wanted my batsmen to have a bigger total to chase," said Warne. "I wanted to see how the batsmen would react to chasing down a big total and what they could offer in a tight match situation.
"One or two of the bowlers were quite surprised when I withdrew them from the attack but I explained that I wanted to see how some of the new and younger players perform in a match situation.
"As it turned out the Cobras were excellent in attack and efficient in the field which provided us with a good test.
"Obviously I was disappointed that we lost but this was a great chance to take stock of what the players have to offer."
Justin Ontong, the Cobras' skipper said his players showed the intensity that was needed to secure a victory. "We made a few decisions about how we wanted to play this game, and we stuck to the plan," said Ontong. "As things turned out it worked well for us.
"We opened the bowling with an off-spinner Sybrand (Engelbrecht) just to provide a different approach and try to confuse the opposition.
"Our new man Robbie (Peterson) fitted well into the team and he's got a lot to offer us next season. He looks like he's going to be an excellent replacement for Claude Henderson and he offers us a host of options as a batsman."
Towards the end of the 20-overs clash Engelbrecht who top-scored in the match with his 22-ball knock of 36 runs looked set to walk off with the 'Man-of-the-Match award which was a Mahindra Xylo, a dashing multi-purpose vehicle. However, he was pipped by team mate Rory Kleinveldt who picked up 4/22 in his four-over stint and contributed a rapid-fire 23 runs innings in the Cobras innings.
Strangely, Kleinveldt is the only player in the Cobras side who does not have a driver's licence but it was decided that the team would sell the vehicle and share the proceeds.
The Royals, who are the reigning IPL champions, will have two more warm-up games in Cape Town ahead of the IPL opening next weekend at Newlands, where skipper Warne will have his key players like Graeme Smith, Morne Morkel (South Africa), Mohammad Kaif, Yusuf Pathan (India) and Dimitri Mascarenhas (England) to call on.