Pune Warriors 148-3 (Finch 64) beat
Rajasthan Royals 145-5 by 7 wickets
Indian Premier League 2013, Pune
Report by John Pennington
The return of Yuvraj Singh and Aaron Finch's debut helped Pune Warriors taste victory for the first time in the Indian Premier League 2013 with a seven-wicket win over Rajasthan Royals.
Finch, in the side as a replacement for the inured Marlon Samuels, blasted 64 at the top of the order, and Yuvraj Singh hit the winning runs as Pune closed on 148 for three in reply to Rajasthan's 145 for five.
It was a performance as good as their first two efforts had been disappointing and victory brought a sense of relief to players and home fans alike.
They couldn't have asked for a better start to the match as Bhuvneshwar Kumar had Kushal Perera trapped in front for a golden duck with the first ball of the game but Rajasthan rebuilt through Rahul Dravid (54) and Ajinkya Rahane (30).
Dravid produced another classy knock before he was brilliantly caught by Ross Taylor off Yuvraj, who went on to also dismiss Stuart Binny for one.
Late runs were added through Brad Hodge (22 not out), Dinesh Yagnik (12) and James Faulkner (19 not out) while leg-spinner Rahul Sharma finished with figures of two for 16 with the wickets of Rahane and Yagnik.
Through Robin Uthappa (32 in 16) and Finch (64 in 53) Pune raced to 51 without loss in four overs to put them in a position that even they at their worst would have struggled to throw away.
Uthappa cracked three fours and two sixes but Finch was magnificent, hitting six fours and three sixes as he powered his way to a 36-ball half-century, only falling late on when Faulkner (2-17) broke through his defences via an inside edge.
Faulkner had broken the opening partnership when Uthappa drove him to midwicket where he was impressively caught one-handed by Dravid, but there was to be no way back into the match for the visitors.
Taylor showed flashes of what he is capable of in making 17 before picking out Hodge on the midwicket boundary, leaving Yuvraj, unbeaten on 28 in 23 balls and Angelo Mathews, on one, to finish the game off with eight balls to spare.
Yuvraj brougth about a swift end to proceedings by driving Shanthakumaran Sreesanth down the ground and then high over midwicket into the stands, leaving the pacer nursing figures of nought for 38 in 14 balls.
How quickly fortunes can changes. Only four days ago Sreesanth was part of the five-pronged pace attack that saw off Kolkata Knight Riders while Pune have gone from looking like a team that had never played together before to one that could yet go on to feature in the latter stages in the competition, especially now they have broken their sequence of 11 straight defeats.
© Cricket World 2013
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