The IPL was at its best when 400 runs were scored in 40 overs and a team chased down 200 to win with five wickets to spare. Even the quiet and organised Stephen Fleming couldn't hide his emotions when Ravindra Jadeja got the winning runs! Such was the level of contest and excitement. The Chennai curator should be given credit for producing a wicket which stayed true till the end.
Chennai will be buoyed by the victory but their experienced hands will know that in this format 'everyday can't be a Sunday'. Once again, the Chennai-Royal Challengers match proved that in the shortest version of the game it's all about that day.
Like, it was not Pune's day at Mohali. We were lucky to have a game on Thursday. There were thunderstorms the night before and the covers, sight-screens got blown away and there was water-logging on the pitch. Both Gilly and I knew the toss would be crucial and whoever bowled first would dominate the proceedings.
It was Gilly's turn this time but even then we should have got around 140 on the board.
Considering the pitch, Pune played with an extra batsman but yet we didn't bat the 20 overs. In cricket, it is important to assess the pitch and bat accordingly but unfortunately we didn't do that. Our bowlers did a decent job even with so less runs to defend.
We tried to play fearlessly but in trying to do so a few of us gifted our wickets away. Even the fielding was not as intense. Opportunities did come our way, some of them at crucial times, but we failed to latch on to them. Jesse Ryder missing the run out of Shaun Marsh was the most crucial.
In a low scoring match, such opportunities have to be availed to make a fight out of it. At the same time, these should not be treated as an excuse for defeat.
We will be playing at home against Chennai, who have some match winners in their side. Chennai have also lost two games, but no one has broken away from the pack, with some teams winning close games and some losing games which should have been won. Pune are also trying to work out the side's balance and we will achieve it soon. It is a young team and it's good to see the boys focussed. A team's character is tested in tough conditions and there is reason to believe that Pune have it in them.
(360 Corporate Relations. The writer is Pune Warrior's captain)