Their playoff hopes dashed after the loss to Deccan Chargers, Pune Warriors batsman Robin Uthappa conceded it has been a nightmarish IPL debut for his team but remained confident that the side would avoid finishing at the bottom with spirited performances in the last two matches.
Losing three quick wickets in seven balls at the score of 45 was the turning point of the match last night, said Uthappa after his team went down by six wickets to Deccan Chargers in an IPL tie here.
"Yes, I think immediately after Power Play losing those three wickets to the spinners made the difference. We could not capitalise on the good start we got," said Uthappa referring to the 31-run start provided by Pune openers which was frittered away.
Pune lost the wickets of Manish Pandey, Uthappa and Mithun Manhas -– the last two off successive balls to leg spinner Amit Mishra -– at the same score of 45 and went on to make a modest 136 for nine which was comfortably overhauled by the Deccan.
"It's been happening over and over again. It's one of those seasons everything you try goes against you. It's a little tough to take. I thought Mitchell (Marsh) batted well to take us to a fighting total," said Uthappa of Marsh, who top-scored for Pune with 37 runs off 28 balls.
Uthappa said though his team were out of the reckoning for the play-offs, they would aim to avoid finishing with the wooden spoon.
"We need to play for pride. We have been together for 2 and a-half months, the domestic players. Definitely, we would play for pride. We would not want to be there at the bottom of the table. The season is not over yet. If we can finish on a high we would be better psychologically for the next season," he said.
Uthappa said his team's strength was in its spin bowling.
"I think our spinners are our main bowlers. Rahul (Sharma) and Yuvi (team captain Yuvraj Singh) have been bowling well. It was important to keep them in the middle. We wanted to quieten them (Deccan batsmen) down in the middle overs. We wanted the game to go to the last 2-3 overs as in that situation anything can happen. The game can even swing back your way."