Robin Uthappa's innings one of the best I have ever seen: Angelo Mathews

Robin Uthappa scored 75 off 45 balls against Royal Challengers Bangalore at Pune © PTI

Pune: May 4, 2013

Angelo Mathews, the erstwhile Pune Warriors skipper, missed four games and made a comeback in the team against Royal Challengers Bangalore on Thursday at the Subrata Sahara Stadium, Pune. He stepped aside from the captaincy duty and allowed Aaron Finch to continue with the captaincy duty.

Chasing a mammoth total of 188 against Bangalore, Mathews’ 19-ball cameo of 32 unleashed his attacking side. It was refreshing to see Mathews and Robin Uthappa’s 33-ball 63 run alliance getting Pune close to the target. The manner in which two Pune batsman took Muttiah Muralitharan to the cleaners in the 16th over was the best the tournament had seen from Pune. Yet, it was the same old story of ‘too close yet too far’ for Pune Warriors.

The Sri Lankan all-rounder believed that Pune had a good chance to win the game. “If I and Robin were to have been there (till the end), I thought we would have finished off the game but unfortunately we just came so close and once again we ended up losing,” Mathews was quoted as saying by iplt20.com.

Mathews praised Uthappa for his 45-ball 75. He said: “It is one of the best knocks that I have ever seen from Robin. He was absolutely brilliant. He paced his innings really well and he took them to the cleaners in the middle overs. I thought he batted extremely well.”

The wicket got slower according to Mathews in the second innings but he was happy with the performance of Pune batsmen. “I thought the batters stood up to the challenge and they were brilliant… I feel the batsmen did a really good job by getting closer to that target because it looked a massive target to chase specially on this wicket.”

Ab de Villiers‘ quickfire fifty and late-order surge changed the complexion of the game. Mathews agreed that AB de Villiers’ innings was the turning point. “AB de Villiers is one of the most dangerous batsmen to bowl at. When he gets going you really cannot think of a field and a ball to bowl. He is that kind of a character and it is always difficult when you are bowling at the death. And Dinda has been really doing the job for us in the past games. Unfortunately he couldn’t do that job. But no blame on him, he tried his extreme best and the batters also fought till the end. It was a pretty uplifting performance by the whole team,” said the Sri Lankan.

“We have nothing to lose,” said Mathews who is confident that Pune will register wins in coming games.