Pune - A superb all-round performance, highlighted by classy batting cameos from Marlon Samuels and Robin Uthappa and excellent disciplined bowling by Rahul Sharma, Ashok Dinda and Samuels, propelled the Pune Warriors to a convincing 22-run victory against the Kings X1 Punjab at the Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium in Pune on Sunday.
The Pune Warriors batted first and thumped 166 for six.
Pujab could only manage 144 for eight in reply.
Samuels and Uthappa added 81 off 61 balls for the third wicket.
Samuels scored 46 off 39 balls with four fours and two sixes, while Uthappa muscled his way to 40 off 33 deliveries with two fours and two sixes.
Both were undone by slower deliveries from Harmeet Singh when well set to reach half-centuries on a slow and low pitch.
Singh produced two high full tosses in his final over, and was promptly removed from the attack by the umpire, Simon Taufel.
That paved the way for Steve Smith and Manish Pundey to target Bipul Sharma, Singh’s replacement as bowler, as they smashed 25 runs off the penultimate over.
The final five overs produced 53 runs, as Smith went on the rampage.
He scored 25 runs off only twelve balls, with three sixes.
Singh took 3-24 in 3.2 overs, but his ill-discipline was arguably the turning point in the match.
Dimitri Mascarenhas, with 1-23 in four overs, was the best of the Punjab-bowlers.
The Punjab-innings never got off the ground, and they were pegged back by some miserly bowling and sharp ground fielding.
By the time they reached the half-way mark, Punjab had scored only 53 for three and had put their middle-order under immense pressure to produce nearly twelve runs an over to win it.
They lost their openers, Paul Valthaty and Adam Gilchrist, in the first three overs to run-outs.
Gilchrist responded to a suicidal call for a run from Mandeep Singh and was beaten by superb throwing from Steve Smith at short midwicket.
Gilchrist scored six and Punjab was in dire straits on 9 for two after 3.2 overs.
Singh and Abhishek Nayar made heavy weather of scoring in the first eight overs against a quality attack including Ashok Dinda, Rahul Sharma and Murali Kartik.
They reached 30 for two after eight overs and only hit two boundaries during that eight overs.
The Pune Warriors attack bowled excellently and Punjab had to deal in singles against the disciplined hosts on a very low and slow track.
Sharma removed the dangerous David Hussey by bowling him with a delivery that stayed low as Hussey perished for 18.
The spinner then got rid of Piyush Chawla with his next delivery for sixteen when Chawla pulled it to wide midwicket in his desperate attempt to find the boundary ropes when 67 was needed off thirty balls for victory with five wickets down.
Bipul Sharma scored an undefeated 35 from eighteen deliveries. It included three fours and two sixes.
His lusty lower-order hitting gave the score line some respectability.
Yet, it was game, set and match by the time the required run-rate had crept up to fifteen an over in the 18thover with seven wickets down.
Dinda was arguably the pick of the attack with 1-13 in three overs.
Samuels rounded off a fine all-round performance by capturing 1-23 in four overs as spinner after his splendid 46 with the bat.
Sharma took 2-34 in four overs.
PUNE WARRIORS – Sourav Ganguly (capt), Manish Pundey, Jesse Ryder, Robin Uthappa, Callum Ferguson, Steven Smith, Marlon Samuels, Rahul Sharma, Murali Kartik, Ashish Nehra, Ashok Dinda
KINGS XI PUNJAB – Adam Gilchrist (capt, wk), Paul Valtharty, Dimitri Mascarenhas, Abishek Nayar, David Hussey, Mandeep Singh, Bipul Sharma, Piyush Chawla, James Franklin, Praveen Kumar, Harmeet Singh.