It was a do or die game for both Rising Pune Supergiant and Kings XI Punjab when they faced each other in the penultimate game of the Indian Premier League 2017.

A place in the playoff was at stake and it was Pune that trumped Punjab to climb to the second position in the points table. With the win, they booked a date with Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede stadium in the first qualifier.

Should Pune win this game, they will play the winner of the second qualifier on May 21 in Hyderabad and if they lose the game, then they will find themselves playing against the winner of eliminator in the second qualifier.

Pune’s quest to win the ultimate quarter-final wouldn’t have been fulfilled if the bowlers hadn’t stopped Punjab on a mere score of 73, courtesy Jaydev Unadkat and Shardul Thakur. Both the new ball bowlers flattened the Punjab’s batting lineup and wrote a script of an empathic win.

It was Unadkat who dismissed Martin Guptill on the first delivery of the game and then Thakur came into play, grabbing three wickets in his first spell. Punjab could not come back from early jitters and failed to put up a defendable total, which Pune chased down successfully.

Stephen Fleming, the coach of the side was impressed by the performance of both the youngsters and showered praises on them after the game. Here are so excerpt from the talk between the coach and his students –

Jaydev Unadkat:

The secret behind the success,

“The backing which I have got.  The skipper, team management and coach have been brilliant and supportive. We have kept things simple in the meeting and here is how things have gone. To keep the things clear and execution has been brilliant which doesn’t happen in T20 games.”

On slower ball – 

“I always had it. What has changed this year is that I am much more confident now when I bowl it. I need to put in efforts in slower one as well. I have been practising it and this has been successful for me. I have been bowling in pressure situations and yes with the pitch going slow, it suits me and I need to get going if I get similar wickets.”

On qualifier – 

“It will be an advantage for us that as we have beaten them (Mumbai Indians) both the times this season and we must grab the opportunity that has come our way, having finished in the second position. They are a formidable side but the fire power which we have in our backyard is good enough to outclass any team on any day, so hoping for the same coming May 16.”

Shardul Thakur:

On being unpredictable –

“I think it has to do with my attitude as well. I am unpredictable in life and in my bowling as well. The wicket on the first ball was the key and then me coming into play and the aim was to keep the pressure and I bowled tight line.”

On Ben Stokes – 

“He is amazing and unpredictable like me but jokes apart.  He has been an inspiration for us. He has performed well and got us through many times. He won three Mom of the Match awards and was a big bonus for the team.”

On qualifier – 

“I am from Mumbai and will like to play there and beating Mumbai in Mumbai could be great to go to Hyderabad.”

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