Punjab v Pune, IPL 2013, Mohali April 21, 2013

Wright and Mendis announce themselves

The plays of the day from the IPL match between Kings XI Punjab and Pune Warriors in Mohali

The pitch
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.

The entry
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 miss
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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on April 22, 2013, 12:17 GMT

    @Shaunslem: You are spot on ! They thought captaincy is just for toss. I too hope Mathews shouldnt play for Pune anymore. Hope they wont select 11 people as captains before playoffs :D

  • Shashwat on April 22, 2013, 7:06 GMT

    where is the MISS from Gillchrist. that must have been included in the Plays of the day. You see this type of sloppiness from Gilly once in a lifetime, that was really ridiculous. That changed the whole momentum of the game!!!

  • Asanka Sharmal on April 22, 2013, 5:05 GMT

    Very poor captaincy by Pune..... with Luke Wright bowling the last over Finch was gambling with a very high risk and the with Mendis he had no clue as to how to place the field........... Yuvi would make a better captain for Pune if not Mathews.

  • vikram on April 22, 2013, 2:04 GMT

    It has been proved by giving chances to Finch/Smith/Wright who played very well but not were in Top XI in earlier matches, that a player should be given chances on the basis of FORM instead of Only CLASS.....Most cricket fans will agree that Ross Taylor/Mathews/Samuels are big on CLASS but definitely they were low on the current FORM....similarly that happened to Indian Test Team by playing Vijay/Dhawan in place of Gambhir/Sehwag........So I wish to change the term "CLASS is permanent and FORM is temporary" to "FORM should be given a bit more priority to CLASS" because a CLASS was not even attached to Jayasuriya / Sehwag from day 1 but they built their own class whenever they were on form....

  • Satish Chandar on April 22, 2013, 1:59 GMT

    @Shaunslema : Today it was superior performance from Punjab which lost it for Pune.. Both Wright(Replacement for Mathews as player) and Finch(as captain) did excellent job in their departments and evoked good confidence.. Mathews really looked out of space..

  • Ajeesh on April 22, 2013, 1:28 GMT

    @Shaunslema : Man do you really think Mathews deserves a place here ?? look the runs they piled up... has this team had thus many in this IPL?? this was sumthng well fought n lost... but this wud add the confidence and boost which the team lacked...only worry think of this team is the bowling ?? either Dinda shud strictly asked to bowl what line or kane richardson for mendis if reqd... else no change mathews doesnt deserve nything in this team..

  • Chatty on April 22, 2013, 1:00 GMT

    To take best use of Mendis, a team needs a captain who understands mystery spinners. Mendis could have easily taken more wickets with better captaincy. Finch had no idea how to place the slip cordon for Mendis. Also, why was Luke Write bowling the last over?? He is by no means a great bowler. Just military medium, nothing type of bowler. It was a disastrous move, which cost Pune the match.

  • Divakar on April 21, 2013, 23:13 GMT

    @Shaunslema what you said is valid point, but i doubt Mathews might have dropped based on his pathetic n irresponsible shot selection in brain fading collapse against SH coz he was only specialist batsman left and to top it all he was the captain.........

  • Lou on April 21, 2013, 19:36 GMT

    Yes, that one wicket by Mendis reeaaalllyyy made all the difference...

  • Shaun on April 21, 2013, 19:04 GMT

    Now any comments about Angelo Mathews?

    Just because a team loses you cannot always blame it on the captain,best example was today's match... lots of runs to defend but no luck at all.....

    Many criticized Mathews for his captaincy and performance... I think Angelo's bowling was missed in this match... but I hope for his(Mathews) sake he does not play for PUNE again as majority of the people seem to think he is a burden...

    All the best PUNE hope you play well without Mathews!!

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