Ajinkya Rahane holds out promise. He is a good player both off the front and backfoot and is someone whom the selectors must be keeping a watch on. Indian cricket is in a phase of transition and players like Rahane will have to stand up and get counted. His hundred against RCB will do him a world of good as he had missed out on one a few games back.
With the help of Rahane and Owais Shah's knock, Rajasthan put it across the Royal Challengers. On the other hand, Kolkata lost their home match against the Kings XI by a whisker. The pitch at Eden looked good in the first game but since then it is back to where it was last year. It is not the right type of wicket for a T20 game.
Back to the game, all these results are important as they will help generate more interest amongst the fans, and will keep the teams and players on their toes. This year could possibly take the IPL to the next level.
After a good win at home against Chennai, we travel to the south to take on RCB on their home turf. It was a good win at home in Pune and was a day when things fell in place. The boys deserve kudos for having lifted themselves after the away defeat against the Kings.
The crowd at Pune deserves special mention but so do the curator and groundsmen. It was a good T20 track where you could play shots right through and the outfield was so fast that you got value for your shots.
It went according to plan against the Super Kings Chennai and we were not put out of the game even after losing the toss and Chennai starting off well. At one time, they did seem to be running away but I must congratulate the bowlers, especially Ashok Dinda and Ashish Nehra, for pulling it back.
We started well but lost rythym by losing three wickets, but from there on it was a Jesse Ryder-Steve Smith show. Ryder has matured and he showed it on that day but I have to mention young Steve. He is fearless and I have a feeling that like Shane Watson came to the fore after the first IPL, Steve could be the standout player this year.
RCB will be keen to hit back but we need to play our natural game. We are settling down as a unit and will need to carry forward the momentum.
360 Corporate Relations. The writer is Pune Warriors captain.