Local players to be blamed for Pune debacle 

Angelo Matthew, the Sri Lankan skipper is a proven match winner. Steve Smith, an amazing talent from Down Under has lifted a BBL trophy. Marlon Samuels, the Jamaican single-handedly won West Indies the World T20 title last year. Isn’t Ross Taylor amongst the most dangerous batsmen around? Mitchell Marsh, who won a place in the Australian side for the Champions Trophy in England is surely a talent to watch out for and who doesn’t know Aaron Finch’s and Luke Wright’s reputation of clearing the boundaries at will. Ajantha Mendis, who has just played one game this season, has had a history of dominating in this format.

Pune Warriors India consist some of the best foreign talent in the side and despite of that they have once again been dismal. Though there has been a display of occasional individual brilliance but they have lost some of the closest matches. Winning and losing is a habit and unfortunately Pune have kept on losing. In IPL, a team may boast of the best foreign players but it all comes down to the local talent because out of the 11, seven are the Indian players and at the end of the day, it’s a team sport. The not good coming of the Indian players has hurt the Pune outfit. Be it a Rohit Sharma or Dinesh Karthik for Mumbai, or even a Mohit Sharma for Chennai; the teams that have done well this season have had significant contributions from the local players.

Coming to Pune, the most impressive amongst the lot of Indian players have been Bhuvaneshwar Kumar and Rahul Sharma, who have picked up 17 wickets among them with an economy rate of 6.30. The rest have been dismal to say the least, Yuvraj Singh hasn’t been close to his best and I feel he has bowled well but has been under bowled. Robin Uthappa hasn’t looked threatening at all. With a top score of 37, he hasn’t provided the impetus. Other disappointments have been Manish Pandey and T Suman, while Abhishek Nayar virtually had a no role to play. Ashok Dinda more often than not has been left to do the dirty work of bowling at the depth or bowling to the best batsmen. At times he has done well, but with an economy rate of close to 10, he hasn’t lived up to his reputation.

Chennai Super Kings despite of a poor start on Tuesday, managed to comfortably win the game. That’s not because they played extraordinarily but for the fact that knew how to adapt at a given situation. We saw why someone like Badrinath is so crucial to the star studded Chennai outfit and Mohit Sharma has been good with the seam, and is turning out to be another star.

Suresh Raina played a very mature knock. He didn’t show any desperation despite of the fact they were struggling with the run-rate. This may not be the quickest 50 that he has scored but what impressed me was the way he applied himself and set the platform along with Badrinath, for the skipper Dhoni to come in and just blaze. Dhoni produced another spectacular display and by then CSK had gained the psychological advantage.

Coming to today’s matches. Sunrisers Hyderabad play the dominant Mumbai Indians at home and the home team will look forward to stick with the pack. Sunrisers are very well within chances to make it to the last four, and though they might not have the firepower like Mumbai, they do possess an enviable bowling attack, good enough to produce an upset. Mumbai have looked vulnerable in the away games while Sunrisers like most of the teams have thrived at home. This will be no different.

Kolkata Knightriders play Delhi Daredevils at Raipur, and this brings in memories of the first match of this year’s edition when Delhi began their losing streak. While Kolkata will be desperate for the win, Delhi will be playing for respect and will look forward to spoil some parties.

CSK 164 for 3 in 20 overs [S Raina 63 (50) *, S Badrinath 34 (31), M S Dhoni 45 (16) *, Rahul Sharma 4-0-27-1] beat PWI 127 for 9 in 20 overs [S Smith 35 (39), R Jadeja 4-0-26-1, Mohit Sharma 4-0-21-3, D Bravo 4-0-18-1] by 37 runs