Disappointment was writ large on Yuvraj Singh's face as he saw David Miller cart the penultimate ball of Luke Wright's last over for a six. Kings XI needed six runs off two balls and it meant Pune Warriors' best effort of the season was not enough as Mandeep Singh and Miller stitched 128 runs for the third wicket to pull off a near-impossible result and register a convincing seven-wicket win.
For Wright, it turned out to be a humbling experience, from a hero with a 10-ball blitz to a bowler off whom the Kings scored 16 runs in the last over.This was after Bhuvneshwar Kumar hit the right note for Pune as he dismissed KXIP skipper Adam Gilchrist off the third ball of the first over and later Ajantha Mendis had Azhar Mahmood removed for zero.
It looked all over for Kings XI but Mandeep, in the company of Manan Vohra, added 53 runs to bring his team back in the match.
Mandeep, who was the highest run-getter for the Kings last season, remained unbeaten on 77 off 58 balls, while Miller scored 80 off 41 balls.
After the implosion against Hyderabad, Pune needed to come out all guns blazing. Led by their new skipper Aaron Finch, the sixth change at the helm in three seasons, they did not disappoint. After Finch's 65 off 42 balls, a cameo from Yuvraj Singh (34) and Wright (34) meant Pune's target had swelled to 185.
Pune seemed to have life infused into them after making as many as four changes. The misfiring T Suman and Manish Pandey were shown the door, and taking cue from another Sri Lankan and Hyderabad skipper, Kumar Sangakkara, Angelo Matthews dropped himself in favour of Wright. Robin Uthappa was happy to play second fiddle. An aggressive batsman, he played a subdued innings of 37 while trying to give Finch the lion's share of the strike.Finch departed at 128 for 2 but by that time damage had been done and he had set the ideal platform for Wright and Yuvraj to launch an assault.
Yuvraj started the charge by taking 14 runs off Parvinder Awana with the help of two sixes.
His departure had little effect on Wright, who first took on Mahmood by hitting consecutive boundaries off the last four balls and then taking part Praveen Kumar.