Pune finally snap losing streak
Pune Warriors 120 for 5 (Yuvraj 35) beat Kings XI Punjab 119 for 8 (Marsh 32) by five wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Pune Warriors finally ended their horror run of seven defeats by limiting fellow stragglers Kings XI Punjab to 119 in Mohali, a target which didn't tax their batting too much The defeat means Punjab are now putting together a losing streak to nearly match Pune's - having gone five games without a win. Legspinner Rahul Sharma was once again the standout bowler for Pune, with South African fast bowler Wayne Parnell and Bhuvneshwar Kumar aiding him in shackling Punjab.
Preity Zinta was back to cheer on her side, and the Mohali crowd had something to shout about early on as Paul Valthaty repeatedly crashed the ball through cover for boundaries. Adam Gilchrist came into this game on the back of two ducks, and he couldn't find his timing today either, swinging Rahul to deep midwicket for 3 off 8 balls. Valthaty was cramped by the lack of room, and when he was given some, he cut at it but Rahul's extra bounce meant it resulted in a top edge to backward point.
Shaun Marsh has been Punjab's best batsman this tournament, and he showed why with some lovely hits. Yuvraj Singh was dispatched over long-on, Rahul was eased through cover for four, and his younger brother Mitchell was pulled for a boundary. Dinesh Karthik wasn't as fluent, but in the company of Shaun, the pair guided Punjab to a reasonable 71 for 2 in ten overs.
That platform was wasted though as neither batsman went on to make a big score on a slightly sluggish track. A Bhuvneshwar Kumar slower ball accounted for Shaun, who dragged the ball onto the stumps, and a couple of overs later Punjab's most expensive acquisition, David Hussey, nicked to the keeper. They were floundering at 94 for 4.
Karthik couldn't quite hit top gear and there was a wicket in almost each of the final six overs as the innings fell apart to a series of attempted big hits.
Punjab's bowlers needed to be accurate and incisive if they were to stand a chance, and they began well, with a maiden from Praveen Kumar. The next three overs, though, were plundered for 30 runs, and in a match where the fielding standards were shoddy, Jesse Ryder was given a let-off by Valthaty in the fourth over. There was more fortune for Pune as Manish Pandey survived a dead-on lbw shout in the fifth over, bowled by Bhargav Bhatt, two balls after Ryder was dismissed.
Robin Uthappa came out swinging, and though they were several fresh-air swishes, he found the boundary three times to whittle down the target with a quick 22. Pandey was dismissed after a relatively quiet 28, which had two of his trademark forehand smashes down the ground. If the wickets of Pandey and Uthappa gave Punjab some hope, Yuvraj extinguished that by clubbing Bhatt for two sixes and two fours in an over.
Siddarth Ravindran is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo