Steve Smith has given Pune Warriors’ supporters reason to rejoice with a rousing display with the bat and showing a safe pair of hands on the field.
These two factors played a significant role in Warriors’ second victory in the Pepsi IPL-VI away match against Chennai Super Kings on Monday. Smith’s delayed inclusion in the playing XI and his success will result in further churning of the team composition for the match against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Wednesday.
New Zealand’s Ross Taylor led Warriors against CSK, while the other three overseas players were Australians — Aaron Finch, Smith and Mitchell Marsh.
It has to be seen how the team management facilitates the return of captain Angelo Mathews.
Fast bowlers Dale Steyn and Ishant Sharma and leg-spinner Amit Mishra are in form and can be dealt with only with a style of play the likes of Finch and Smith bring to the game.
Finch and Smith have truly lit the flame of aggression and passion embodied in the Warriors’ slogan, something which had been missing until now.
Finch has played two matches and scored half-centuries against Rajasthan Royals and CSK and Smith showed chutzpah and dexterity in making a blistering 16-ball unbeaten 39 against CSK.
Smith’s remarkable hitting, including the reverse hit off Dwayne Bravo over third man, prodded his teammates into put up a fighting performance.
Sunrisers won a low-scoring home match against the Warriors with Steyn and Mishra causing the damage taking three wickets each, but the visitors may find the home team made of sterner stuff at the Gahunje village stadium here.
PWI’s Deep Dasgupta said that the team physio would have a final say on the fitness of Yuvraj Singh who did not travel to Chennai because of a nagging back spasm.