Pune Warriors would be livid with themselves following their loss to Delhi Daredevils at Raipur on Sunday. Chasing a highly gettable total, they were completely in command at the halfway stage. However, the continuous loss of wickets from thereon coupled by some very good bowling by Delhi in the second half of the innings, crippled the chase completely. The fact that they lost the match by a fair margin in spite of having six wickets in hands was a clear indication of how badly Pune had ill-timed their chase, to crash to the bottom of the table.
Things were rosier for Pune after Robin Uthappa and skipper Aaron Finch got the team off to a terrific start. They batted for half the duration of the chase, and when they were at the crease Delhi looked in big trouble. However, the timing of their dismissal was critical. Both fell in the same over, and Pune could never recover from the twin losses. Even though they still had eight wickets in hand, the run rate spiraled out of control. Yuvraj Singh, Luke Wright and Steven Smith all came up with impressive cameos, but it wasn’t enough to take Pune home. At the end, what they missed was that one big innings.
The Delhi bowlers, on the other hand, made a superb comeback following the onslaught by the Pune openers. Irfan Pathanand Umesh Yadav combined brilliantly to put Pune on the back foot. Pathan’s dismissals of Uthappa and Finch put a temporary halt to Pune’s march while Yadav sending back Yuvraj Singh and Luke Wright completely befuddled the batting side. Also, even though Ashish Nehra and Shahbaz Nadeem weren’t among the wickets, they also played their part in keeping the run rate down.
When it was their turn with the bat, Delhi found their saviour in David Warner. The opener, who has been given a new role of holding the innings together, played a sizzling knock to take Delhi’s total from moderate to competitive. The Aussie left-hander’s innings was particularly classy considering that Delhi had lost three quick wickets. Warner played exactly the kind of knock that Pune could not come up with during their chase at the end. Thanks to Warner’s superlative knock, the last five overs of the innings saw Delhi score plenty, which made a huge difference in the end.
Things could have been different had the Pune bowlers built on the early advantage they gained. Skipper Mahela Jayawardene fell early, and after Virender Sehwag and Unmukt Chand gave their wickets away after getting their eye in, Pune were very much on top. Apart from Warner’s brilliance, Kedar Jadhav also came up with a crucial cameo. In spite of Delhi’s late assault, Pune were chasing a highly gettable total, and their task was made easy following a radiant opening partnership. The lack of winning experience however came back to haunt them.
Turning point of the game: Uthappa and Finch’s dismissals in the 11th over, from which Pune did not recover.
--By A Cricket Analyst