Wright and Mendis announce themselves
This was not one for the gardening enthusiasts. "Patchy," was a generous description at the toss. Almost in the middle of the pitch there was an island of green grass, slightly closer to one end than the other. It left teams a bit worried about how the ball would behave, but it turned out to be cosmetic: apart from the odd ball that hit the edge of that patch and kicked a little, not much happened.
It meant dropping the captain, Angelo Mathews, but playing Luke Wright proved successful for Pune Warriors. It was a sensational entry, and just when Kings XI Punjab were sort of relaxing, having got rid of Yuvraj Singh before he could hurt them at the death. Wright walked in, and there seemed no way to stop him going at a strike rate of 400. The first ball he faced went wide of long-on, the second to deep cover, the third dead straight, and the fourth to midwicket. In the next over, after being hit for a boundary, Praveen Kumar managed to get Wright to hit to a fielder, but Parvinder Awana misfielded at third man. That's 24 off six. Wright managed just two off the next ball, but set the strike rate right with a six off the one after. He fell for 34 off 10 balls, looking for the six that could have taken the strike rate back to 400.
The entry, part II
How awkward it must be for team management when consistently ignored players come in and start doing better than the players they replaced first ball. After Wright, it was the turn of Ajantha Mendis, one of the best Twenty20 spinners in the world, to make immediate impact. Playing instead of Mitchell Marsh, Mendis took the new ball, bowled a carrom ball first up, Azhar Mahmood played across its line, it didn't turn either way, and Mahmood was given lbw. The lesson: in Twenty20, specialists - even if they might not be good at other disciplines - are worth much more than bits-and-pieces players.
The pursuit of the sensational means fielders hate to keep the ball in their hands. If you have fielded, you better throw it. Fast. On the odd occasion, you pay for it. As Wright did with the last ball of the first over he bowled. Wright swooped in during his follow-through as David Miller tried steal a leg-bye and was sent back. Miller was gone had Wright taken aim and hit, but Wright didn't wait for that and threw in the same motion, and missed with time to spare.
Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo