Fireworks from Glenn Maxwell in the death overs helped Punjab register a six-wicket win over Pune, in Indore on Saturday, but it was Punjab's bowlers -Sandeep Sharma and Mohit Sharma - in particular that restricted the powerful Pune batting unit to just 163, which made the job easier for their batsmen later on.
At the toss, Maxwell, put his faith in his bowlers to deliver on a "very flat" wicket, and the two Sharma's - who took the new ball - didn't disappoint against the experienced opening duo in Ajinkya Rahane and Mayank Agarwal. Sandeep struck from his fifth ball by rattling Agarwal's stumps, in an over that yielded just one.
The early wicket pegged Steven Smith and Rahane on the back foot and they took the cautious approach. Sharma - in the second over - hit the good length on four occasions and conceded just two runs. Sandeep at the other end kept the scoring down to four singles in the third over. Pune had scored at just over two an over in the first three overs.
The pressure was bound to cause panic amidst Pune's ranks and Mohit found the leading edge from Rahane's bat from the second ball of the fourth over, but Manan Vohra dropped him. It was just the reprieve Pune required. Rahane made amends and smashed Mohit for a six and a four in the same over. Sandeep conceded 11 runs in the fifth over but the duo had ensured that Pune managed just 32 in the first five overs. Sandeep ended with figures of 2 for 33 and Mohit none for 34 in his four overs.