All-round Warriors ease to second win
Pune Warriors 166 for 6 (Samuels 46, Uthappa 40, Harmeet 3-24) beat Kings XI Punjab 144 for 8 (Bipul 35*, Rahul 2-34) by 22 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
The thousands who made their maiden trip to the brand new Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium in the outskirts of Pune, proudly and loyally filling the stands with blue, got their money's worth as Pune Warriors India pulled off a comprehensive win against a struggling Kings XI Punjab. It was an all-round performance, led by an 81-run partnership for the third wicket between Robin Uthappa and Marlon Samuels which set them to a competitive 166 before a combined bowling effort sealed the game.
A score of 166 is normally considered slightly above par in these conditions, but Warriors made it a winning total by creating opportunities by sound ground fielding, effecting two early run-outs and not giving Kings XI any leeway. Warriors recorded their second win in as many games and now share the top spot with Rajasthan Royals.
Warriors made the right move at the start, promoting the experienced Samuels to No.3. However, some circumspect running, and a subsequent run-out of an out-of-sorts Jesse Ryder gave Kings XI early control.
Samuels combined well with Uthappa to boost the scoring after Warriors were 43 for 2 after seven overs. The eighth over went for ten runs and the 10th, bowled by the left-arm spinner Bipul Sharma, went for 13.
With the more experienced Praveen and Dimitri Mascarenhas proving more difficult to score off with their restrictive stump-to-stump lines, also with the keeper up to the stumps, the pair took to Bipul. Both used their feet, clearing long-off for sixes, one of which just beat David Hussey's desperate leap at the edge of the rope. The duo also studied the field well, using the pace of the ball to fetch a couple of boundaries off deft touches to third man, with the fielder within the circle.
Uthappa fetched an audacious six, off one hand, over long-off but the bowler Harmeet Singh got the better of Samuels in the same over, bowling him off a slower delivery. Harmeet's following over yielded just a run and the wicket of Callum Ferguson, but his next was bitter-sweet. After bowling Uthappa with another slower delivery, Harmeet had to be taken out of the attack for bowling two full tosses above waist height. Bipul completed the over, which produced three massive hits over the on-side thanks to Manish Pandey and Steven Smith.
The 19th over produced 27 runs, and from that point, Kings XI found it hard to bounce back. The chase never took flight for a sustained period to threaten Warriors. The short of a length deliveries from Ashok Dinda and Ashish Nehra skidded off the surface, making strokeplay difficult. Smith's fielding created the opportunities to derail the top order with two run-outs.
Paul Valthaty sacrificed his wicket for the experienced Adam Gilchrist. Following an lbw appeal, the ball deflected to the off side but Gilchrist's anxiety to get back on strike caused a communication mishap and Valthaty helplessly ambled out of his crease before the bails were broken at the non-striker's end. The sacrifice didn't help as Gilchrist himself was run-out the following over, failing to beat an agile pick-up and throw from Smith at short midwicket.
Kings XI were poking around at 13 for 2 after five overs, with just one boundary. The drought had extended to 26 balls before Mandeep Singh cut Rahul Sharma to the deep point rope. However, even Mandeep failed to set a base and fell for 24, nicking Ryder to the keeper in an attempt to force the pace.
Kings XI also lost the game tactically by not promoting Hussey, a batsman capable of turning a game. Hussey, Abhishek Nayar and Piyush Chawla all made starts, but the fact that none of the recognised batsmen scored more than 24 summed up what was a sorry batting performance. Late hitting by Bipul only reduced the margin of defeat.
Edited by Abhishek Purohit
Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo