Pune Warriors fluffs its lines at the end; excellent bowling yet again by Bhuvneshwar
Pune Warriors was left shell-shocked by its 11-run defeat to Sunrisers Hyderabad with six balls remaining in their Pepsi-IPL-VI match here on Wednesday.
Well on the way to notch up its third win following Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s remarkable exhibition of seam bowling in the afternoon session, the home team played mindless cricket. It eventually surrendered to the persistence of its southern visitor that was truly reflected in leg-spinner Amit Mishra’s superb wrist spin that fetched him four wickets in his last over and a third hat-trick in the league.
At the post match press conference Warriors skipper Angelo Mathews said it was a pathetic batting display from his side, while Sunrisers’ skipper Cameron White gushed, “didn’t we pull the rabbit out of the hat. Well, bowled Mishy.
“We just scrapped it out and showed that we want to be a hard team to beat. I think the scoreboard pressure and some panic weighed them down.’’
As much as one would blame the Warriors middle-order for hitting in the air and providing opportunities for fielders in the deep like Ashish Reddy and Dale Steyn to hold catches, Mishra’s performance with the ball in his last over was remarkable for accuracy and guile.
With Manish Pandey in the middle, Warriors would have banked on him to take them past the finish line. However, Mishra, who was bowling the 19th over had other plans.
After having gone wicketless in his first three overs, he began his fourth forcing Mathews to hole out to Steyn.
Mishra then allowed Pandey a single off the third ball and then made the ball obey his wrist and fingers to cause the downfall of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Rahul Sharma and Ashoke Dinda.
Stirred by Bhuvneshwar’s three-wicket spell, Warriors openers Robin Uthappa and Aaron Finch hit out at Dale Steyn and Ishant Sharma chasing a small target of 120.
After their departure — falling to Thisara Perera — Steve Smith, Mitchell Marsh and Mathews raised hopes of a comfortable win, before Reddy’s excellent judgment near the line sent back Smith and Marsh which piled further pressure on Mathews.
There is no greater thrill in a game of cricket than to see the new ball operators beat the top order batsmen neck and crop, send the bails flying and flatten the stumps.
The pleasure is no less when they beat the batsmen in the air, off the wicket and force an edge into the hands of the wicketkeeper or the slip cordon. This is what Bhuvneshwar did and put his team in the driver’s seat in the Power Play overs.
After a livewire display from Bhuvneshwar, Warriors’ leg-spinner Rahul Sharma restricted the visitor to set a mere run-a-ball target.
Orissa’s Biplab Samantray came up with a courageous effort and along with Mishra made sure that the Sunrisers’ innings did not fold up after Bhuvneshwar’s super spell.