A superb knock by Jesse Ryder and all-round show from skipper Sourav Ganguly helped Pune Warriors register a comfortable 20-run win over Delhi Daredevils in an IPL match on Saturday.
Put into bat, Pune scored 192 for three --- courtesy 86 from Ryder, 41 from Ganguly and a cameo of 34 not out from Steven Smith.
Pune then successfully defended the total, restricting the Daredevils to 172 for seven. Credit should be given to Ganguly who bowled at a critical juncture and ended with impressive figures of two for 27, including the wicket of dangerman Kevin Pietersen.
Seamer Alfonso Thomas, playing his first match, did a fine job with figures of three for 22. This was Pune's fourth win from seven games.
Delhi skipper Virender Sehwag hit 57 from only 32 balls but once he was out, the chances of victory were as good as gone. The 18th over in the Pune innings bowled by Shahbaz Nadeem that yielded 23 runs turned out to be the game-changing over.
Delhi, however, were in the match till the halfway stage. In the fifth over, India discard Murali Kartik was hit for a six and four by Sehwag.
Pietersen seemed to start from where he had left in the last match against Deccan Chargers as he hit three sixes off Angelo Mathews in the very next over as Daredevils were well and truly off the blocks.
There was no stopping Sehwag as he hit Jesse Ryder for a couple of sixes over extra cover and a four that fetched 18 runs in the eighth over. The fourth six from Sehwag was off Rahul Sharma that was hit straight into the sightscreen. His 50 came off 27 balls.
Sensing danger and with all his bowlers getting a bit of stick, Ganguly brought himself on and his gentle seam-up stuff yielded rich dividends.
First, it was a wicket-to-wicket delivery that cleaned up Pietersen (32, 23 balls, 1x4, 3x6) and in the very next over got Irfan Pathan (15, 11 balls, 1x6), caught at the deep mid-wicket boundary by Ryder.
Kartik then got into the act to remove Sehwag who offered a simple return catch as Pune were back in the match with Daredevils in a spot at 115 for four. Pawan Negi (8) was needlessly run-out.
Earlier, Ryder's 86 off only 58 balls, along with useful contributions from Ganguly and Smith, helped Warriors post 192 for three. The Ryder-Ganguly second wicket partnership of 93 was the foundation on which Pune scored a commendable total.
Ryder hit seven fours and four sixes in his innings. Not to forget young Smith's cameo 34 from only 13 deliveries (4x4, 2x6) towards the end helped in beefing up the total.
Smith hit two fours and two sixes in the 18th over from Shahbaz Nadeem (0/44 from 4 overs) that yielded 23 runs.
At the start, the first few scoring shots from Ryder were all mishits but did give him desired results. The first six that he hit off Morne Morkel was over third-man when he wanted to hit over extra-cover.
That was followed by a 'Chinese-cut' that went past wicketkeeper to the fine leg fence. The second six was a mistimed hook that went for a six. The first boundary he got off the middle of the bat was boundary over mid-wicket off Morkel.
Ryder continued to play his shots in company of Ganguly, who finally found some form after failing in six consecutive matches.
Pune reached their 50 in the sixth over which was not bad considering they scored their first runs off the ninth ball.
With two left-handers in Ryder and Ganguly, Daredevils skipper Virender Sehwag decided not use his two frontline left-arm spinners and bring himself and Kevin Pietersen to bowl off-breaks.
Sehwag, who was bowling for the first time in IPL was swept for three boundaries --- one from Ryder and a couple from Ganguly who slowly got into the groove. In Pietersen's second over, Ganguly stepped out to hit a six over extra-cover.
Ryder completed his second half century playing only 33 deliveries and a reversal of roles happened suddenly. It was Ganguly who started hitting the spinners.
First, a bowler's back-drive off Shahbaz Nadeem that threatened to knock umpire's head-off and then he muscled one through square leg region off Yogesh Nagar to get into the 40s.
Ganguly finally holed out in the long-on region when he failed to get required elevation trying to hit Morkel in the stands. His 41 came off 35 balls with five fours and a six.
However, Ryder and Smith ensured that Pune got to a defendable total.