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PWI all-rounder says his team needs to move on after RCB debacle
By Harsh Kalan
Raipur 28 April 2013
Chris Gayle’s epic 175-run knock was enjoyed by almost everyone – save for those 11 men in Pune Warriors India blues who had a forgettable day at the office. Nothing they did, with bat or ball, worked against the big man from the Caribbean, and it further derailed PWI’s already shaky Pepsi IPL 2013 campaign.
“It was an amazing innings, wasn’t it? That happens in Twenty20 cricket,” said Steve Smith, while trying to make sense of that record-breaking knock. “A player like him is arguably the best in the world in this format. That happens in Twenty20 cricket, and we will learn from that.”
Smith was, however, hopeful of a better showing against theDelhi Daredevils here in Raipur on Sunday. “It is a new game and hopefully, we can come out with a good mindset and be positive from the start. Start the game well and come out with a win at the end of it,” Smith said.
The leg-spinning all-rounder admitted that his franchise has not had a good start this season, having won just two out of their eight games thus far. But he insisted that the mood in the dressing room was positive, and that the team is still upbeat about every oncoming challenge.
“We have lost a few narrow ones that we probably should not have lost. But we just hope to continue to play good cricket, and hopefully, we can get a few wins and get some momentum coming into the end of the tournament,” Smith said.
The Australian all-rounder has been on the wrong side of results since he got to the subcontinent a couple of months ago with the national Test side. That losing streak has bled into the IPL now, and the 22-year-old hopes for his Indian voyage to end on a happy note.
“I think I started OK with the bat. Obviously, I’ve got a pretty good feel at the moment, since I’ve been here for a while now. With the Test series, I got used to batting on these kinds of wickets,” said Smith. “I just got to keep working hard in the middle and perform to my ability and try to get Pune over the line a bit more.”
The Pepsi Indian Premier League will make its first appearance at Raipur when the Delhi Daredevils host Pune Warriors India in Match 39 on Sunday.
DD, who have managed just one victory in eight matches so far lie at the floor of the table and will be hoping for a change of fortunes with a change in venue. The team overcame the mighty Mumbai Indians but failed to carry forward that momentum, losing to Kings XI Punjab in their most recent outing.
Pune Warriors India’s wins over the Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals – two teams which are placed in the top half of the table – show they are capable of beating even the best teams if they get their act together. The team has had five days to recover from the thrashing they received at the hands of Chris Gayle in their previous match.
Both teams face an improbable – if not impossible – task of having to win at least six of their remaining eight matches to stay in contention for a place in the top four.
Sunday, April 28, 2013, 8 p.m
Chattisgarh International Cricket Stadium, Raipur
(Adopted home venue of the Delhi Daredevils)
The average totals of Delhi Daredevils and Pune Warriors India are 136 and 135 respectively and those numbers tell a story for themselves. Both teams contain some of the most ferocious strikers of the cricket ball and yet have found it difficult to get runs on the board. DD will need Virender Sehwag, David Warner and skipper Mahela Jayawardene to play freely, while PWI need a substantial number of runs from Yuvraj Singh to support their men-in-form Aaron Finch and Robin Uthappa.
With the pitch at Raipur being an unknown commodity, it will be interesting to see the make-up of the bowling line-up of both teams. With his height and ability to generate steep bounce (and get the ball to skid through on an uneven surface), DD’s Morne Morkel could be a handful. PWI’s Bhuvneshwar Kumar has done a fabulous job getting early breakthroughs regularly. He has been ably backed up by Rahul Sharma who has picked up seven wickets in as many matches and has an impressive economy rate of 6.03.
The Delhi Daredevils have a 2-1 win-loss record in four matches against Pune Warriors India.
The Daredevils have won both their away matches against Pune Warriors India – first at the DY Patil Stadium in 2011 and then at Pune in 2012. PWI’s only victory against DD was in Delhi in 2012. The one other meeting between the two at the Feroz Shah Kotla in 2011 was washed out by incessant showers.
The Delhi Daredevils have hit the fewest sixes in this Pepsi IPL season; their batsmen have only 20 sixes in eight matches. What Next
The Delhi Daredevils stay put at Raipur and host the Kolkata Knight Riders on May 1. Pune Warriors India will head down south to take on Chennai Super Kings in Chennai on April 30.