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The Report by Siddhartha Talya
April 21, 2012
Pune Warriors 192 for 3 (Ryder 86, Ganguly 41) beat Delhi Daredevils 172 for 7 (Sehwag 57, Thomas 3-22, Ganguly 2-27) by 20 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Pune Warriors recovered from two successive defeats to beat the form team in this IPL thus far, thanks to an impressive all-round effort. Sourav Ganguly, their captain, played a significant role with bat and ball, and some exciting shot-making from Jesse Ryder and Steven Smith helped post a total that proved beyond the might of Delhi Daredevils' power-packed batting line-up. At the Ferozshah Kotla, the hosts were well on track when Virender Sehwag and Kevin Pietersen were going strong in a threatening partnership, but the chase ran out of steam when a couple of bowling changes proved decisive by accounting for both.
Daredevils were up against the Warriors' highest total of the season and needed a blistering start, but were hit with the early loss of Mahela Jayawardene. That brought two of their most destructive batsmen together, and the tempo of the innings from there on was a contrast to a sedate first four overs bowled by Alfonso Thomas and Ashish Nehra. Murali Kartik came on in the fifth, and Sehwag charged out to launch him for a straight six followed by a cut through point. Pietersen looked in command, targeting Angelo Mathews in the next over, slapping him disdainfully for a straight six then carving him over extra cover and long-on to make it three in four balls.
Sehwag then took over, gradually building the pressure on his Warriors counterpart by making a mockery of each of his bowling changes. Ryder was carted for consecutive sixes over extra cover and Rahul Sharma was blasted into the second tier. The pair had added 71 in five overs, the bowling changes had failed and the Warriors captain tried another option, bringing himself on.
Pietersen had made up his mind and swung hard but Ganguly's first ball kept low, beat the bat and hit the stumps, prompting wild celebrations. An animated Ganguly sprinted across the field, his hair clinging for dear life on to his head, as the importance of that wicket began to sink in. In his next over, he was struck over midwicket for six by Irfan Pathan but had his man when an attempt at a similar shot produced a catch in the deep. Daredevils were still in the game with Sehwag batting, but Ganguly's decision to bring back Kartik paid off. Kartik tossed it up, bowled it slow, Sehwag struck one straight back at him and the bowler kept his cool to pluck a decisive catch.
Ross Taylor struggled to get going in the company of a relatively inexperienced lower-middle order, and his run-out, in a Ganguly over, virtually shut Daredevils out of the game. Nehra and Thomas returned to complete what was, in the end, a comfortable win.
The highlights of the Warriors innings were a 93-run stand between Ryder and Ganguly, and late onslaught from Smith. Ryder and Ganguly threw Sehwag's plans off track by going after the most successful bowler this IPL season, Morne Morkel, and forced some debatable bowling changes that helped the batsmen settle in further. Eager to open up after a quiet start, Ryder targeted Morkel and was lucky, his first two boundaries - a six over third man and then a four past fine leg - coming off edges.
The approach unsettled Morkel, who Ryder struck - convincingly this time - for two more fours, before he was taken out of the attack, having conceded 31 in two overs. Sehwag had the option of using Yadav then, or left-arm spinner Pawan Negi, who replaced Ajit Agarkar for this match. Instead, he had a bowl himself and was swept for fours by Ryder and Ganguly, before Pietersen was smashed over extra cover and long-off for a four and a six respectively. Twenty-six came off overs eight and nine, and the pair was well prepared by the time the regulars returned.
Both faltered in their running, failing to convert several singles into twos, but the boundaries compensated for that lethargy. Ganguly scooped Nadeem over short fine before hammering him down the ground, and Ryder stepped up when he was joined by Smith once Ganguly went. He cracked Irfan over extra cover and swung Yadav over square leg and midwicket for sixes.
As the seamers struggled with their lengths, either bowling too short or on a length, the otherwise miserly Nadeem too came in for some punishment. Smith launched him for sixes over his head and midwicket, and dispatched him for two fours, one off a reverse-sweep, to pick 23 in the 18th over. Sixty-seven came off the last five, giving Warriors an excellent shot at getting their campaign back on track. They did so, with their captain leading the way.
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Would he have fared better than the incumbent middle-order batsmen, Root and Ballance?