Cracker of a house-warming for the Warriors
Coming into the game against the Kings XI Punjab, Pune Warriors India had played 15 games, including seven home games at their adopted game, during their short stint at the Indian Premier League. Amol Karhadkar reports. Scorecardindia Updated: Apr 09, 2012 00:05 IST
Coming into the game against the Kings XI Punjab, Pune Warriors India had played 15 games, including seven home games at their adopted game, during their short stint at the Indian Premier League.
But Sunday underlined that the newbies of the IPL family had indeed arrived, partly due to their convincing victory and the colourful opening ceremony at the Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium, and the presence of some of the biggest entertainers in Indian showbiz. What made the evening special was the presence of the 40,000-odd spectators - as many put together for last years' seven home games for PWI.
Despite a modest start to their innings, for the first time since the Warriors joined IPL, they heard chants of "Puneeeee.......... Puneeeee" right through the game. If the victory in the opening game against hosts Mumbai Indians on Friday wasn't a morale booster, the crowd motivated them to top the points tally.
Not a smooth ride
It wasn't exactly a smooth ride for the Warriors for the first 18 overs. Thanks to a second successive lifeless performance with the willow, they were 131 for four. To put pressure on the Kings, it was imperative they finished strong.
Steve Smith and Manish Pandey did the needful and plundered 27 runs in the penultimate over bowled by Harmeet Singh, and Bipul Sharma after the former was taken off for bowling two full tosses above waist level.
Once the target climbed, Adam Gilchrist and Co crumbled under pressure. With both the openers - Gilchrist and Paul Valthaty - run out early in the chase, the Kings could never get back into the game. No wonder then that despite Monday morning lurking, most of the spectators hung around even after the formalities were completed.
They had started their day with a 30-odd km drive on a Sunday afternoon, then they had witnessed acts by some of the Bollywood divas and heard Amitabh Bachchan speaking Marathi. If that wasn't enough, it was topped by a victory of their home team in the IPL in its first game at the home ground. What more could they have asked for it to be a perfect weekend!