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Sanga gets something to cheer about, finally

With the Maximum City and its outskirts, including what was originally planned to be the new business district, waking to an overcast skies, most fans in Mumbai were in a picnic mood. Amol Karhadkar reports. Live score | Local tunes

cricket Updated: May 17, 2011 01:31 IST
Amol Karhadkar

With the Maximum City and its outskirts, including what was originally planned to be the new business district, waking to an overcast skies, most fans in Mumbai were in a picnic mood.

However, the Pune Warriors India appeared in no mood for a happy outing. In fact, the gloomy surroundings seemed to have cast a shadow on their performance in the last two matches and they were back to square one.

A six-wicket defeat to the Deccan Chargers meant the Warriors, who had registered back-to-back victories after suffering seven humiliating losses before Monday's game, would join the Chargers, Delhi Daredevils and Rajasthan Royals with no more hopes of making it to the four-team play-offs, with two league matches remaining.

With the overcast conditions, it wasn't a surprise that Kumar Sangakkara chose to bowl on a surface at the Dr DY Patil Sports Stadium that offered a lot to the seamers in the earlier five matches. The Warriors, on the other hand, had replaced left-arm pacer Shrikant Wagh with seasoned domestic batsman Mithun Manhas, extending their already lengthy batting line-up.

However, the inclusion of an extra specialist batsman did not help the Warriors' cause as all their batsmen tried extravagant shots, perhaps hoping that the one coming after him will do the job. The only genuine dismissal among the Warriors batsman was that of Manhas, who was bowled off the first ball he faced - a googly by Amit Mishra that pitched outside off and crashed into the middle stump.

Had it not been for Mitchell Marsh's lusty blows towards the end, the Warriors would have struggled to cross the 120-run mark. However, a total of 136 for nine was always going to be difficult to defend. And considering the fact that they were a bowler short, early wickets were a must for the Warriors to stay alive in the tournament.

But that wasn't to be. Shikhar Dhawan and Sunny Sohal's 67-run partnership for the opening wicket meant that the Chargers were going to emerge as the spoilers for the newbies.

Even though Sangakkara couldn't stay on till the winning run was scored, the victory came as a perfect farewell gift from the Chargers' skipper to the team owners and from the team to their skipper, who will join Sri Lanka in England.

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