Pune Warriors 166-6 (Samuels 46) beat
Kings XI Punjab 144-8 (B Sharma 35no) by 22 runs
Indian Premier League, Pune
Pune Warriors continued their ascendancy in the opening stages of the Indian Premier League 2012 with a 22-run win over Kings XI Punjab at Pune.
It was their first home game - and a first win - at the brand new Sahara Stadium.
The hosts won the toss and elected to bat first. Skipper Sourav Ganguly got them off the blocks quickly, his 20 runs coming off just 18 balls. But they lost both their openers, Ganguly and Jesse Ryder, for just 32 runs in the fifth over.
It brought together Marlon Samuels and Robin Uthappa to the crease and they put on an 81-run partnership for the third wicket.
Even so, it appeared as if Kings were still in the game. They were keeping things tight, especially Dimitri Mascarenhas who gave away just 23 runs in his four overs. In a bid to accelerate both Samuels and Uthappa perished before completing their deserved half-centuries.
Samuels top scored with 46 off 38 balls, hitting four fours and two sixes. Uthappa meanwhile made 40 off 33 balls, with two fours and two sixes, before both of them were bowled by Harmeet Singh. He also accounted for Callum Ferguson, out caught and bowled for just three, and it sparked a middle-order collapse.
At that time, the Pune score was still only 132 for 5 in the 19th over, by no means a tall chasing order. But the last ten balls proved costly as Steve Smith and Manish Pandey took 34 runs off them. Smith smacked three sixes in his 12-ball 25, while Pandey made 12 off four balls, hitting one to the boundary and one over it.
This was to be the turning point of the match.
Kings XI Punjab made the worst possible start as both their openers were run out before the score reached ten. Paul Valthaty sacrificed his wicket in a horrible mix-up before Adam Gilchrist was himself run out.
Mandeep Singh and Abhishek Nayyar tried to shore up the innings, making 24 runs each, but Pune were keeping things tight and the match was slowly coming into their grasp.
In the 16th over, they were placed at 99 for six, with both the set batsmen, the hard hitting David Hussey (18 off 17 balls), Piyush Chawla and Mascarenhas, all back in the hut. Bipul Sharma struck some meaty blows at the end, topscoring with 35 off 18 balls, though it wasn’t of much use.
The first week of IPL season five ended with Pune Warriors on top of the table, making many wonder if they were indeed going to be contenders this year.
© Cricket World 2012