By BV Swagath
Pune Warriors finally won a match after a gap of around 30 days and in the process terminated defending Champions Kolkata Knight Riders’ chances of making it to the play offs. The fourth spot in the play offs will now be a toss up between the Royal Challengers Bangalore and the Sunrisers Hyderabad following this evening’s exit of the KKR.
Asked to bat first, Pune Warriors piled up 170 for 4 on a track that was expected to be on the slower side. A bright start of 41 for 1 in 5.4 overs laid the initial momentum for Pune. Skipper Aaron Finch scored a superb 48 from 32 balls with 2 fours and 3 sixes before getting bowled by Balaji in the 13th over. Manish Pandey played the sheet anchor’s role scoring 66 from 47 balls (with 8 fours and a six) while Yuvraj Singh who started slowly finished nicely with 30 from 20 balls with 3 sixes.
KKR chasing 171 were quickly on the backfoot at 29 for 3 inside 5 overs. Just when they looked hopeless to get anywhere near the target came an outstanding partnership of 98 between Ryan ten Doeschate (42 from 30 balls with 4 fours and a six) and the big hitting Yusuf Pathan.
The defending IPL Champions were banking on Pathan to take them home but in the 18th over a terrible error from him cost the match. Yusuf Pathan tried to take a non-existent single after digging out a Parnell yorker and on his way intentionally kicked the ball away from the bowler! Pathan was rightly given out Obstructing the Field and his exit diminished KKR’s hopes at 148 for 6 in 17.5 overs. Yusuf Pathan was batting really well at that stage with 72 from 44 balls with 8 fours and 2 sixes.
After Pathan’s exit, KKR came a distant second with a total of 163 for 7 to lose the contest by 7 runs. Bhuvneshwar Kumar bowled brilliantly for Pune with figures of 4-0-22-1. Manish Pandey for his 66 got the Man of the Match award.
Toss and Teams: Kolkata Knight Riders have won the toss and asked the Pune Warriors to bat first at the JSCA International Stadium Complex in Ranchi. KKR need to win this game to keep their hopes alive of making it to the play-offs. If they lose this game, then they are out of the competition. The Pune Warriors who are out of the tournament since a long time had last won a game exactly a month ago!
Pune Warriors: Robin Uthappa (WK), Aaron Finch (C), Manish Pandey, Yuvraj Singh, Luke Wright, Angelo Mathews, Raiphi Gomez, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ali Murtaza, Wayne Parnell, Ishwar Pandey
Kolkata Knight Riders: Manvinder Bisla (WK), Gautam Gambhir (C), Jacques Kallis, Ryan ten Doeschate, Yusuf Pathan, Manoj Tiwary, Debabrata Das, Rajat Bhatia, Sachithra Senanayake, Sunil Narine, Lakshmipathy Balaji