Inspired Warriors pull off huge CSK upset
Pune Warriors 159 for 5 (Finch 67, Smith 39*, Morris 2-25) beat Chennai Super Kings 135 for 8 (Badrinath 34, Bhuvneshwar 2-12) by 24 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
They keep saying you have got to do the basics right, more so in Twenty20. They lie. On Monday night in Chennai, Pune Warriors did most of the basics wrong against the much-fancied Chennai Super Kings, but still won by a huge margin.
While batting only two of the seven Warriors batsmen went at a strike-rate of more than 112.5, and one of them faced 18 dots out of 45. They wasted a flying start - their best in all IPLs - with a muddle in the middle, Mitchell Marsh holed out into the deep and didn't even cross over, Manish Pandey slogged when he should have handed over the strike to Steven Smith, T Suman dropped a sitter that would have reduced Chennai Super Kings to 2 for 2, and they were consistently on the worse side of minor fielding errors.
Still, riding on Aaron Finch's 67 off 45 and Steven Smith's unbeaten 39 off 16, and Bhuvneshwar Kumar's impeccable swing at the top of the defence, Warriors pulled off the upset. Their basics might not have been perfect, but there was enough of the spectacular from the three aforementioned gentlemen.
The first ball Finch faced he drilled back past Dirk Nannes for four. He would hit seven more fours in the Powerplay. With a short back lift and a punch packed behind them. Robin Uthappa at the other end, though, fumbled his way to nine off 12 at the end of the Powerplay. The singles didn't come, Uthappa kept struggling, but Finch kept hitting enough boundaries to take this stand to the best opening for Warriors ever.
Then came on R Ashwin's spin and Chris Morris' bustle, and Warriors lost their way. In going from 96 for 0 to 128 for 4, they consumed 29 balls and looked set for a below-par total, especially after the 18th over produced just three runs. However, Smith, who wouldn't even have played but for the Tamil Nadu government's problem with Sri Lankan cricketers, had other ideas. He went crazy against Nannes and Dwayne Bravo, reverse-flicking the latter for a huge six over third man in the final over. Twenty-eight came off those last two overs, but this was still a strictly fighting total.
Under Bhuvneshwar's swing, the total grew a leg. With his second delivery, he trapped S Anirudha - who replaced Michael Hussey - with an inswinger. He looked like he could get Suresh Raina with each of the remaining deliveries of that wicket-maiden. Catches kept getting dropped, the fielding was not the sharpest, but Bhuvneshwar nipped out Raina soon.
Abhishek Nayar's cutters and Rahul Sharma's accuracy did the job in the middle overs, and once again Super Kings were left with close to 14 an over to chase through MS Dhoni, Bravo and Albie Morkel. It wasn't to be this time as the bowlers and fielders held their nerve.
Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo