Pune bowlers restrict Punjab to 119

Pune captain Yuvraj Singh celebrating a wicket with Rahul Sharma. AFP

By Suneer Chowdhary

Mohali: May 8, 2011

It had been deemed to be a batting paradise but a combination of poor batting and a slower than expected pitch conspired to restrict the Punjab side to 119 for eight in their 20 overs. Punjab scored 71 in their first ten overs but managed only 48 in the second half of the innings, that turned things around for the side.

Quick loss of wickets, brought about by a desire to go after the bowling, expecting the track to be an easy one to bat on was probably the reason for that.

Adam Gilchrist s IPL this season has been a forgettable one, having scored only 180 61 of them coming from one game. It only got worse today as he pottered around for seven balls before the frustration took over. Rahul Sharma, who has clearly been one spinner to watch out for, had the Punjab captain s number when a slow-sweep from the batsman landed straight into the hands of the square-leg fielder.

Paul Valthaty, at the other end, began showing signs of a repeat of that blistering century against the Super Kings as he creamed four boundaries off the first eight balls he faced. Srikanth Wagh was hit for three of those in one over.

Shaun Marsh showed his touch of class when he drove a well-timed stroke to the fence before launching into Yuvraj Singh and getting a six over long-on.

Rahul Sharma halted the partnership, however. After being cut away to the fence by Marsh, he had Valthaty attempting the same stroke. The result was different though as the ball skidded through quicker and only allowed it to go straight into the backward point s hand.

After a bright start, the Kings XI Punjab had fallen to 51 for two in eight overs.

Dinesh Karthik and Marsh shared three boundaries in the next three overs. However, in a bid to break free, Punjab s man in form, Marsh, was bowled off an inside-edge. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, playing his first IPL game this season, was the wicket-taker.

Karthik survived a close run-out decision that was referred to the third umpire before being let off by another missed opportunity. Robin Uthappa failed to throw the stumps down with the batsman many a yard outside his crease.

David Hussey innings lasted all of five balls as well and when Karthik s 27-ball 30 was terminated by Mitchell Marsh, chances of getting to a competitive score had all but evaporated.

Parnell chipped in with a couple of wickets towards the end of the innings as the Punjab lower-order failed in their endeavour to get the runs.

The changes to the two sides on a losing streak weren t entirely unexpected but it was definitely a surprise to have the Kings XI Punjab go into the game with four new players from the game played against the Royal Challenger Bangalore. Mandeep Singh, Shalabh Srivastava, Sidharth Chitnis and Bhargav Bhatt came into the Punjab side.

Pune did not go in with Sourav Ganguly again, but had Callum Ferguson, Mitchell Marsh, Wayne Parnell and B Kumar playing for them.

Brief Scores: KXIP 119 for 8 in 20 overs ( Shaun Marsh 32, Dinesh Karthik 30, Paul Valthaty 23; Wayne Parnell 2 for 12, Bhuvneshwar Kumar 2 for 14, Rahul Sharma 2 for 17, Mitchell Marsh 2 for 26) vs PWI.

Full Scorecard

(Suneer is a Mumbai-based cricket writer and can be contacted at suneerchowdhary@gmail.com and Tweets here @suneerchowdhary)