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 at the Feroze Shah stadium 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.
Earlier, Jesse Ryder smashed his way to 86 off only 58 balls while Sourav Ganguly who had failed in six previous matches contributed 41 to help their side post a challenging 192/3.
Their second wicket partnership of 93 was the foundation on which Pune built their innings after being put into bat.
Ryder hit seven fours and four sixes in his innings. Not to forget young Smith's cameo of 34 from only 13 deliveries (4x4, 2x6) towards the end also 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 as Pune, who have not batted well consistently so far in the tournament, put up a fighting total.
At the start, the first few scoring shots from Ryder were all mishits but did give him the 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 hit was a mistimed hook that went for a six. The first boundary he got off the middle of the bat was over mid-wicket off Morkel.
While Robin Uthappa (10) was dismissed early while trying to play a flashy drive, Ryder continued to play his shots in company of Ganguly, who finally found some form after failing in six consecutive matches.
Pune reached 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 skipper Ganguly, Daredevils skipper Virender Sehwag decided not use his two frontline left-arm spinners and brought himself and Kevin Pietersen to bowl off-breaks.
Sehwag, who was bowling for the first time in the 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.
The 50-run partnership for the second-wicket came off only 29 balls and the 100 in the 11th over as Ganguly started middling the ball.
Ryder completed his second half century of this edition of the IPL with a push. It came off 33 balls 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 the required elevation while trying to hit Morkel in the stands. His 41 came off 35 balls with five fours and a six.
Ryder hit the best six when blasted Yadav over deep square leg for his third maximum and then played the signature Twenty20 scoop over short-fine leg.