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So much for experience

Those who doubted that cricket could be a demanding and capricious mistress needed only to watch the last ball of this incredible game. A current Indian Under-19 star and one from the not-too-distant past ranged against a side with a wealth of international experience. Two runs for the win, one for the tie. Who would your money have been on?

What unfolded was almost beyond belief. The experienced bowler, after a couple of nervous false starts, summoned up a delivery that couldn't quite be slogged, but when the ball streaked back towards him, he dived over it. Another international scampered in from long-off, gathered, and let fly with a throw that was a few feet wide of the stumps. International number three couldn't collect the ball. In between all this mayhem, with the stadium noise amplified to ear-splitting levels, the two lesser lights ran two. Game over.

So much for experience. Shane Warne couldn't stop gushing about Niraj Patel and Ravindra Jadeja later, and who could blame him? "I thought they'd left it one over too late," he said with typical candour. "Jadeja hit one shot over cover for six that showed unbelievable talent and skill, and then for Patel to hit him [Fernando] back over his head for six. I'm just very proud of those boys."

No matter what the situation, and it was dire on Monday night with 32 needed from the final 12 balls, the Rajasthan Royals seem to unearth a hero. It was Warne himself on an unforgettable night in Hyderabad early on in the competition, and Yusuf Pathan and Mohammad Kaif the other evening in Kolkata. Shane Watson and Graeme Smith have done their bit, as has Kamran Akmal.

"In our dressing room, the motto is Find a Way," said Warne. "Whether it's for one ball or three balls, be the man, be the hero. Go out there and express yourself."

Mumbai's fielding disintegrated in the final stages, with overthrows conceded, poor efforts at the stumps and an air of panic all round. Sachin Tendulkar ventured across to the bowler after practically every ball, and Fernando, who had bowled three magnificent overs for 12 and two wickets, seemed to wilt like a wallflower under the spotlight.

With Tendulkar again staying away from the post-match press conference, it was left to Lalchand Rajput to survey the wreckage of a campaign that had appeared to revive with six straight victories. "Our fielding let us down today," he said, before launching into an unconvincing explanation about luck that revolved around the toss of coins.

Warne understandably was dismissive of those remarks. "It all comes down to belief," he said. "These situations tell you about the differences between the teams. Fernando bowled a wide down the leg side. That has nothing to do with luck. Now, I'm not having a go at him, but it comes down to poor execution of skills when the pressure is on."

Tendulkar's diving catch to dismiss Watson epitomised the Mumbai Indians' desperation, but from the moment the Powerplay fetched them only 29 runs, they were always playing catch-up. Tanvir again bowled with the skill and accuracy of Wasim Akram in his prime ["absolutely outstanding again" was the Warne-speak], and controlled spells from Siddharth Trivedi and Yusuf Pathan denied Mumbai any sort of momentum. But for that sensational little cameo from Yogesh Takawale, who struck four fours and a six in Watson's final over, this would have been another demolition job in keeping with Rajasthan's absolute dominance on home turf.

The Sawai Mansingh Stadium, which has become the IPL equivalent of Fortress Stamford Bridge, boasts of an obstacle course on the premises. For the moment though, the team that calls it home appears capable of brushing aside anything that blocks its path to glory. This fledgling league couldn't have more worthy winners.