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Suffering the ignominy of eleven straight losses, Pune Warriors India, on Thursday night decided it was time to tinker with the records at the Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium. A collective effort from the team, that has burned at the bottom for too long, saw the home team breaking all shackles, and in telling style when they recorded their first win of the Pepsi IPL 2013 season.
With the odds stacking up against them, PWI put in their all to record a convincing seven wicket victory over Rajasthan Royals to give the franchisee owners and their home fans something to cry hoarse about.
Chasing a modest 146, PWI got back to winning ways as Aaron Finch played a magnificent innings scoring 64 off 53 balls. The victory came as a massive relief to Allan Donald and his team.
PWI started positively as openers Robin Uthappa and Finch went hard after the RR bowlers. Harmeet Singh's 2nd over was taken apart for 17 runs, before Uthappa dismantled S Sreesanth hitting him for two sixes and a boundary to bring up Pune's 50 in just 3.4 over. James Faulkner provided the much needed breakthrough as Rahul Dravid pulled off a blinder to send Uthappa (32) on his way.
Needing less than 6 runs an over thereafter, Finch and Ross Taylor pushed the ball into gaps and rotated the strike to steadily close in on the target. Finch bought up his fifty in style smashing Kevon Cooper for a six. Harmeet Singh got RR their second wicket having Ross Taylor (17) caught in the deep by Brad Hodge. Finch finally departed to give Faulkner his second wicket. Yuvraj Singh finished the match in style with a six as PWI romped home with eight balls to spare..
Earlier RR won the toss and elected to bat. Bhuvneshwar Kumar got his team off to a fantastic start as he dismissed Kusal Perera leg before off the very first delivery. Ajinkya Rahane and Dravid laid the foundation for RR putting on 81 runs for the second wicket. At the halfway stage RR were at 72 for 1, with Dravid and Rahane stroking the ball beautifully. Mathews pulled off a stunning catch in the covers off Rahul Sharma to send back Rahane (30) and break the partnership.
Stuart Binny (1) fell soon after caught off Yuvraj Singh. Brad Hodge was given a reprieve by Mathews when he was dropped off his own bowling on just one. Yuvraj Singh struck in the 15th over when he removed Dravid (54), courtesy of a brilliant one hand catch by Ross Taylor. Dishant Yagnik (12) fell playing an awkward shot to give Sharma his second wicket and pull the game in Pune's favor. A few lusty blows by Hodge (22*) and Faulkner (19*), in the last over enabled PWI to finish at 145 runs for 5.
Man-of-the-Match: Aaron Finch
Brief Scores: Rajasthan Royals 145 for 5 (Rahul Dravid 54, Rahul Sharma 2-16) lost to Pune Warriors India 148 for 3 (Aaron Finch 64, James Faulkner 2-17) by 7 wickets.
It was a Jamaican party at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru. Chris Gayle shattered any hopes Kolkata Knight Riders might have housed with a cracking unbeaten 85 from 50 deliveries to guide Royal Challengers Bangalore win their third match at home, chasing down 155 for a telling eight-wicket verdict.
RCB were rattled early in the chase with Ryan McLaren accounting for Mayank Agarwal (6), caught behind in the 3rd over. Jaques Kallis followed it up with a maiden over. Virat Kohli then smashed two boundaries off McLaren, before Gayle joined in, hammering two sixes to take 22 runs of the final over of the power play. The RCB duo continued their assault taking apart Pradeep Sangwan's first over for 19 runs.
Lakshmipathy Balaji provided the much needed breakthrough dismissing Kohli (35) caught by Eoin Morgan. However Gayle kept up the aggression sending the ball over the fence on a consistent basis including a monstrous 99 metre hit off Balaji. AB de Villiers (22*), who was put down on seven by Manoj Tiwary, provided good support playing a calm and composed innings.
Gayle made the most of Kallis' 16th over hitting him for two consecutive sixes before following it up with a boundary. Gayle finished the match in style with two sixes off Balaji helping RCB to reach the target with 15 balls remaining.
Earlier opting to field, RCB they were rewarded immediately as Moises Henriques had Manvinder Bisla (1) caught at point in the very first over. Gautam Gambhir who survived a run out attempt hit two boundaries off RP Singh before smashing Muttiah Muralitharan for two more. Gambhir and Kallis (16) laid the foundation for the innings putting on 51 runs for the second wicket before R Vinay Kumar struck removing the latter.
Yusuf Pathan, promoted up the order, started his account with three successive boundaries off Kumar. In the 12th over, Pathan sent Jaydev Unadkat into the crowd for the first six, but just as he was looking dangerous, he holed out in the deep to give Moises Henriques his second wicket.
In the pursuit of quick runs, Gambhir (59) fell caught and bowled by Kumar. RP Singh struck twice in the 18th over getting rid of Morgan (2) and Tiwary (23) to bring back RCB into the game. Rajat Bhatia struck consecutive boundaries off Kumar's 19th, but a couple of wickets in the last over meant that KKR finished at 154 for 8.
Man-of-the-Match: Chris Gayle
Brief Scores: Kolkata Knight Riders 154 for 8 (Gautam Gambhir 59; RP Singh 3-27) lost to Royal Challengers Bangalore 158 for 2 (Chris Gayle 85*; Lakshmipathy Balaji 1-33) by 8 wickets.