The rescue act
Kolkata's batting depth has been the hallmark of their campaign in the Indian Twenty20 competition this year, and when this depth was put to test against Delhi on April 17, Manish Pandey and Yusuf Pathan came to the fore, with a 110-run stand for the fourth wicket, and guided their side to a narrow four wicket win, with one ball to spare, at Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi.
The duo came to the rescue of their side, struggling at 21 for 3 at one stage, in their pursuit of 169. Delhi's seamers had ripped apart Kolkata's top order, dismissing Gautam Gambhir, Colin de Grandhomme and Robin Uthappa in the first three overs. Pathan counter-attacked by targeting Chris Morris and Pat Cummins, who provided him with regulation pace and little movement.
Pathan and Pandey then took on Amit Mishra, the only spinner in the team, Pathan smashed six fours and two sixes in his 49-ball 69 before he departed in the 15th over. Pandey stood firm, while wickets tumbled at the other end, and took his side home. The partnership was the first century fourth-wicket partnership in the competition for a team three down for under 25.
What they said:
"We had a good game plan and it succeeded. We were trying to get a boundary or a six in every over regardless of who the bowler was and to keep rotating the strike. We were trying to put the bowlers and the captain under pressure so that they commit a mistake and so do the fielders."
Yusuf Pathan on his match-winning display
Buttler, Patel eclipse Punjab with aggression
While Jos Buttler and Nitish Rana took Mumbai closer to the 199-run target against Punjab, it was Buttler's 81-run opening stand with Parthiv Patel that gave Mumbai the platform to successfully gun down the Punjab total, registering an eight wicket win at Holkar Cricket Stadium in Indore on April 20.
Hashim Amla had led Punjab's charge in the first innings with a resounding 104 off 95 balls. Amla and Glenn Maxwell's onslaught helped Punjab post a sizeable 198 on a batting-friendly surface. Mumbai required to score at 9.90 from the onset. Buttler made his intentions clear at the start and thumped Sandeep Sharma for a six in the first over itself. The duo went on to club four sixes and ten fours in the 5.5 overs that they batted together. Patel's departure in the sixth over for 37 off 18 balls brought Rana and Buttler together and they continued their attacking ways. Buttler finally fell for a 37-ball 77.
What they said:
"I think today, chasing that kind of total was great for me because I could go from ball one without thinking. I've put a lot of pressure on myself, trying too hard to score the runs. Today, when you're chasing a big score, you can relax and play your shots. Keep a still base and do the rest."
Jos Buttler on powering the chase with Parthi Patel
Dhoni, Tiwary push Pune past Hyderabad
MS Dhoni needed to find runs in a bid to lift an ailing Pune - struggling to find consistency - in the tournament. On April 21, Dhoni did just - by adding a 58-run stand with Manoj Tiwary and guiding his side to a narrow last-ball win against the defending champions, Hyderabad, at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune.
Hyderabad's top five batsmen found runs, after they were put in to bat, and guided their side to a respectable 176 in their innings. Dhoni and Tiwary came together in the 17th over, with the asking rate touching 14. With 47 required off 18 - Dhoni and Tiwary decided to push the tempo.
Tiwary led the way by flicking a length delivery from Mohammed Siraj, in the 18th, over backward square leg for four, before Dhoni hit him for a four and a six in the same over. He then tore into the best bowler of the tournament, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, in the 19th, plundering him for 17 and reducing the deficit to 11 from the 20th. Dhoni and Tiwary hit a boundary each and ended the chase off the last ball
What they said:
"Frankly in modern-day cricket, there's no run-rate which is too high. It depends on the execution of the bowlers. What matters is if you can put pressure on the opposition bowlers and then it boils down to who handles pressure well."
MS Dhoni , on his approach in pressure chases