Pune v Rajasthan, IPL 2013, Pune April 11, 2013

Finch, Uthappa end Pune's losing streak

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Pune Warriors 148 for 3 (Finch 64, Faulkner 2-17) beat Rajasthan Royals 145 for 5 (Dravid 54, Rahul Sharma 2-16) by seven wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

When Pune Warriors stumbled to 99 for 9 after choosing to bat against Kings XI Punjab and crashed to their 11th successive defeat, their captain Angelo Mathews said his batsmen needed to sort their "intent and attitude" towards the first six overs. Warriors had made 24 for 2 in the first six overs that evening. Four days later, Robin Uthappa and Aaron Finch blasted them to 64 for 1 in the same period, and Warriors made short work of the target of 146 set by Rajasthan Royals to break the longest losing streak in the IPL.

Finch was playing only because Marlon Samuels was injured, and his arrival heralded a complete change in the way Warriors approached the Powerplay. Instead of starting overcautious and getting tied down, they started aggressively and never looked back on a slowish pitch.

Royals captain Rahul Dravid gambled with India Under-19 left-arm spinner Harmeet Singh for a couple of overs at the start, ahead of James Faulkner, Kevon Cooper and Siddharth Trivedi. Harmeet was making his Twenty20 debut, and while his first over went for just six, the next one was taken for 17. There was no gamble with giving Sreesanth two overs from the other end. And while the first went for just seven, the second was shredded for 21.

Uthappa did most of that damage, pulling successive long-hops from Harmeet for six and also lifting Sreesanth over long-on and deep square leg for two more sixes. Warriors catapulted to 51 for 0 in four overs, the frenetic start all but ending Royals' hopes. Though Uthappa went for 32 off 16 deliveries to a brilliant one-handed take by Dravid in an opening partnership of 58 in 4.5 overs, Finch kept going and going.

He'd already lofted Harmeet and Sreesanth for a couple of straight sixes and went on punishing slight width either side of the wicket, swinging Cooper over deep square leg to reach his fifty off 36 balls. Yuvraj Singh returned after missing the previous game with an injury to finish the chase in the 19th over with a huge six over deep midwicket off Sreesanth.

It wasn't that Royals had ended short of expectations in setting the target. Rahane said during the innings break they had aimed for anything between 140 and 150. Kusal Perera had gone first ball of the match to a Bhuvneshwar Kumar inswinger, but Dravid and Rahane had set the platform with a second-wicket stand of 81 off 67.

Dravid was in superb touch on his way to 54 off 48, timing several pleasing drives through the off side. Rahane rotated the strike well, but both batsmen fell to sharp catches off the spinners as Royals lost their way in the middle of the innings. Rahul Sharma was especially difficult to get away with his full and quick legbreaks. Royals did scrap some runs towards the end, but the way Uthappa and Finch batted, Warriors' losing streak had no chance of getting extended.

Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Sinhaya on April 14, 2013, 4:52 GMT

    @Kavindeven, Kushal Perera has 50 in ODIs in Australia. Check his ODI stats kindly. Not all Colombo pitches are highways. Yes SSC is one but R Premadasa is a spinning one. Recall the crumbling pitch for the world T20 finals?

  • Chetan007 on April 13, 2013, 3:59 GMT

    I would prefer Steven Smith rather than M. Marsh. S. Smith can be much more dangerous than M. Marsh. I would select the same team for the rest of the series except M. Marsh.

  • dummy4fb on April 12, 2013, 13:25 GMT

    Guys don't forget A.Mendis,,RR & RCB/MI are altogether different teams with their batting lineup,,we PWI don't have a single bowler who can STOP big guns flowing in likes of GAYLE/ AB /Pollard /.so there should be a good spinner in the team Smiths inclusion doesn't gonna make big difference speacially when PWI have Finch/Uthappa/Yuvi..there should be Luke Wright instead cause he is devastating as well as good bowler,,

    My XI...Finch,,Uthappa,,L Wright,,Yuvi,,A.Mathwes,,A.Nayar,,T sumon,,B.Kumar/Ishvar Pandey,,Dinda/Rasool,,R.Sharma,,A.Mendis!!

    First five are enough to destroy any bowling + two quality spinners good to hold / defend anything team below/ around 160 & with this kinna batting lineup we can easily chase down 160-170..

  • dummy4fb on April 12, 2013, 12:43 GMT

    Pune's Team is not actually a team representing Maharashtra talent. Its only a team of Sahara has Home ground Pune :(. No players from Maharashtra Ranaji team is playing from this team.

  • dummy4fb on April 12, 2013, 12:09 GMT

    Why wont Kane Richardson and Steve Smith... not playing????????

  • Stevros3 on April 12, 2013, 11:19 GMT

    If Matthews doesn't start performing would like to see Wright given a go, he's a devastating batsman, as proven for England and in the Big Bash, plus he's a reliable bowler, who has good variations that are especially well utilised at the death.

  • Dangerplayer on April 12, 2013, 10:04 GMT

    Winning and loseing is a part of game but the most important entertainment was the rahul dravid catch what a blinder it was mahn! Oh dravid love u my hero and i think the catch taken by ross taylor the ball stick to his hand as he was saying i also don't how can i catch that !!

  • dummy4fb on April 12, 2013, 8:37 GMT

    C'mon, they just won one match.. That too because of a single innings... And even Richard levi played a similar innings on his IPL debut, look where he is today... Never got another 50 again... So lets wait till they perform consistently over a few matches... And also, Kusal is quite talented, its just that people like Dave Warner, Hafeez, Jamshed, Cook have all fallen to BK's swing early in the innings. Its not his fault, that delivery was a beauty. So he should get his chances. Instead RR could do with a better batsman than Yagnik... Playing him and Perera in the same match was a blunder... Faulkner was impressive as he always is in this format...

  • Majorraki on April 12, 2013, 8:22 GMT

    @Sinhaya :This is IPL not SLPL,Unmukt Chand is our future,he has single handedly delivered under19 WC to us and this is his first major tournament with all the big guns,his first steps in the international foray.Kusal is a much more experienced player with already having toured Australia and played Bangladesh at home has much more international exposure.How in the world can you compare these two?? If Kusala perera was unlucky to get a good ball spare a thought about chand,got an absolute rippers from LEE and Sreesanth and pontings mindblowing catch.

  • priceless1 on April 12, 2013, 8:17 GMT

    @GRVJPR dont blame the overseas players , it was Dravid's and Rhane's slow batting which cost them the game