Pune: Kings XI Punjab put up a remarkable allround performance to crush Pune Warriors India by eight wickets in their first match of the sixth edition of the Indian Premier League. This is Pune's second consecutive defeat after they lost their opening match by 22 runs against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Friday.
Pune won the toss and opted to bat on a pitch offering substantial assistance to the seam bowlers. Praveen Kumar cleaned up Manish Pandey for a duck on the last delivery of the first over as the batsman tried to steer the ball to third man but chopped it on to the stumps. Ryan Harris and Kumar bowled fantastic opening spells and stifled Pune batsmen for runs.
T Suman, who scored 6 off 14 balls, tried to break the shackles by lifting Azhar Mahmood but couldn't get the timing right and was caught at mid off. Marlon Samuels didn't contribute much and was run out by a brilliant throw from the deep by Mandeep Singh as he (Samuels) tried to take the second run. The hosts were reduced to 30 for 3 in eight overs.
Robin Uthappa, who survived a run-out chance earlier, struck a couple of boundaries before he was bowled by Piyush Chawla in the ninth over. He came down the track but the bowler dragged back the length and it skidded off the surface to beat the batsman and rattled the stumps. Parvinder Awana got rid of Pune's captain Angelo Matthews by producing a ripper of a delivery which jagged away sharply after pitching at good length on middle stump and the outside edge was safely taken by Adam Gilchrist.
Punjab fielders displayed a sparkling effort in the field and saved at least 15 runs. Gurkeerat Singh grabbed an outstanding catch at fine leg to send Ross Taylor back to the pavilion. Taylor flicked Kumar's ball powerfully, which was drifting on to his pads, but Gurkeerat dived to his right and pulled off a stunner. Mitchell Marsh walloped a six and a boundary in the 16th over, bowled by Kumar, but was bowled by Harris in the next over. Abhishek Nayar held one end and remained unbeaten for 25 as Pune made 99 for 9 in 20 overs.
Punjab got off to a flying start as Gilchrist clobbered a couple of boundaries and a six over deep square leg off Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the first over of the innings, but he perished in the third over trying to swat Matthews over deep square leg. Manan Vohra, making his IPL debut, came out all guns blazing and launched a stirring assault on Ashok Dinda hammering him for four consecutive boundaries in the next over. He played the cover drive with ease and was quick to latch onto anything marginally short. Punjab reached 50 in the fifth over as Vohra pulled Matthews to deep square leg for a single.
Mandeep took singles effortlessly and was content to play second fiddle to Vohra. He got a reprieve in the ninth over as Dinda spilled a simple catch at mid on on the bowling of Marsh. Mandeep rubbed salt in Pune's wound by crashing the next ball to deep midwicket boundary. But impetuosity got the better of the 21-year-old batsman as he skipped down the track against the legspinner but couldn't get to the pitch of the ball and an inside edge went onto the stumps. He made 31 off 26 balls.
Pune were lethargic on the field and dropped another catch when Taylor couldn't hold onto the catch in the first slip in the 11th over. Vohra was the batsman and Marsh was the unfortunate bowler. Punjab got the winning run off the no-ball in the 13th over. David Hussey was caught at midwicket off Marsh but the umpire, Simon Taufel consulted the third umpire to make the correct decision. Vohra and Hussey remained unbeaten at 43 and 8 respectively.