Pune: Jesse Ryder and Steven Smith forged a match winning partnership that drove Pune Warriors to their third victory of the IPL 2012 season by seven wickets.
Batting first, off-colour Chennai Super Kings posted 155/5 replying to which, Pune’s New Zealand recruit Jesse Ryder and Australian all-rounder Steve Smith kept their cool to drive them home.
The match was stretched to the last over where Pune needed 10 runs and Smith cut short the formality by hitting Yo Mahesh’s first delivery for a boundary and the second for a six.
Earlier, Robin Uthappa was promoted at the top to open Pune’s innings along with Jesse Ryder but he failed to make use of the opportunity presented to him by his captain. A slight misunderstanding in the middle meant he was run out after deciding late to go for a double. He, though, showed aggression by punching Albie Morkel for a six in the second over of the match. He departed after scoring 10.
In came Sourav Ganguly and he opened his account with a beautiful drive through covers for a four. His innings was cut short after becoming the second victim of another misunderstanding with partner Jesse Ryder. This time, a misfield led the two to go for a double but the decision was quite late and Ganguly’s old legs betrayed him as he was found short of his crease.
At the other end, Ryder was in an altogether different mood. He made his intentions clear by hitting three consecutive boundaries off Nuwan Kulasekara’s second over. As the innings progressed, he pulled himself back a bit but kept on finding the odd boundary that kept Pune constantly in the hunt. He was unbeaten on 73 and hit seven boundaries and a six.
After Marlon Samuels was bowled while attempting an awkward pull, Steven Smith joined Ryder and played an aggressive, match winning knock of 44 runs that saw his team home with four balls to spare.
Earlier, Chennai Super Kings with the help of their orange cap holder, Faf du Plessis (43) and million dollar recruit, Ravindra Jadeja (44) posted a modest total of 155 runs.
The slow bowlers kept the visitor’s batsmen at bay while pacers proved expensive. Rahul Sharma took two wickets giving away just 16 runs from his three overs. For Chennai only Yo Mahesh could register his name in the wickets column with the scalp of Marlon Samuels.