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For the third year running,the winning mantra has eluded Pune Warriors and they once again loiter precariously near the bottom-end of the IPL table. After a few despicable batting performances,their batsmen finally found some form on Sunday,with Aaron Finch and most importantly Yuvraj Singh getting among the runs. But their bowlers allowed Kings XI Punjab to sneak through to a dramatic win.
Their task of getting their campaign in order will only get more daunting when they take on Royal Challengers Bangalore at their fortress,the Chinnaswamy Stadium. RCB have won all five of their matches at home this season,and their strategy has been straightforward,put the opposition in and trust the likes of Chris Gayle and Virat Kohli to chase down whatever the visitors put on the board. Having seen the Warriors hopeless attempt at defending a massive score in Mohali should only buoy them to stick with their winning formula.
FEELING THE FINCH
TILL two months ago,Aaron Finch wasnt even expected to be a part of the IPL this time. Despite his impressive record in the T20 format,the burly Victorians previous record in the tournament was hardly eye-catching.
He had played a single game for Rajasthan Royals in IPL III before playing eight matches for Delhi Daredevils,all for a total of 123 runs at 13.66 with no fifties. Not surprisingly,he went unsold in the auction this year before being instated as Michael Clarkes replacement.
In an IPLesque turn of events,Finch proved to be the enforcer Pune Warriors were looking for at the top took only four innings to become the franchises top-scorer of the season and by the fifth game ended up as their third captain for IPL VI. He didnt do a bad job either at Mohali,leading from the front with a belligerent 64 but was let down by Luke Wright in the final over. For now,Finch should keep his post at the helm on Tuesday.
WHEN DEATH CALLS
ONLY three of RCBs seven matches so far havent gone into the final over this season,with two being decided via a Super Over. So far,the likes of Vinay Kumar,RP Singh and Ravi Rampaul have kept their nerve more often than not in the death overs,especially at the Chinnaswamy Stadium as their five out of five wins at home will indicate.
Pune on the other hand have struggled to keep things in check in the last four overs,with Ashoke Dinda being the culprit repeatedly. The Bengal pacer has just not found his radar so far,and has let his team down abysmally like he did at Mohali,failing to provide support to the ever-improving Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
SPIN THE SIN
BANGALORES pace attack has been the most potent in IPL VI so far,with Vinay Kumar and RP Singh among the top wicket-takers in the tournament. Where they have been found wanting is in the spin department.
The experienced Murali Kartik has struggled in the last couple of games after a promising start to his RCB stint,both in terms of keeping the run-rate in check and taking wickets. Syed Mohammed only got two opportunities while the success of Rampaul has meant Muttiah Muralitharan has had to warm the bench,leaving RCB light in the spin department.