In a match slated as David Vs Goliath, David emerges victorious again, but for the first time in this year’s IPL. It was a hot afternoon in Mohali and the pitch wore a dry look. The conditions were in favor of batting though.
MS Dhoni won the toss and elected to bat first, majorly to protect his bowlers and the fielders from the Summer Afternoon Scorching sun. The weather played its role, silently though.
The Rising Pune Supergiants lost their opener Ajinkya Rahane early but at the other end, Faf Du Plessis was at his fluent best. With Kevin Pieterson, he added a fifty plus partnership and was hitting boundaries at will inside the powerplay. The weather was a major player after the powerplay along with the Punjab bowlers. As the field opened up, Du Plessis found it difficult to hit boundaries as the heat set in and the running soaked him off all the energy. He was the anchor of the innings with a top score of 67 off 53 balls and stayed there till the last over but it was a real struggle for him as he was not able to get away any quick runs.
No other batsman, except Steven Smith, could stay at the crease for long. Smith’s wicket in the 18th over bowled by Mohit Sharma took away all the momentum, if there was any, from the pune innings.
3 wickets in the final over summed it up all as the Pune innings ended at 152 for 7 in their 20 overs. All Punjab bowlers bowled well and stump to stump, making it really difficult for the batsmen to put them away. The two Sharmas: Mohit and Sandeep, were the destroyers in chief as they got 3 and 2 wickets respectively.
For the potential of Punjab Batsmen, the target of 153 was no way near dangerous, but the form they have displayed in the previous 2 matches and a captain like MS Dhoni at the other side, could make up for an interesting finish.
Punjab openers Murli Vijay and Manan Vohra delivered. They got off to brilliant start to add 97 for the first wicket inside of 13 overs to set the game up nicely for Marsh, Miller and Maxwell. But when a side has lost the habit to win, they can make a mockery of the smallest of targets. After being 97 for 0 they reached 119 for 4 and raised enough doubts in the minds of their team and supporters. But a timely cameo of 32 not out off just 14 balls from the Big Show Maxwell saw them through with 8 balls to spare.
The fans would be hoping that this win gives Punjab enough confidence to fight their way back in the series. For now, all`s well that ends well.