It was a case of being ‘so close yet so far’ for the Pune Warriors India as they lost to the Royal Challengers Bangalore by 17 runs while chasing 188 at the Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium.
Led by a determined Robin Uthappa, who bludgeoned the opposition attack, the Warriors put up a tough fight against Virat Kohli’s team after AB de Villiers had smashed the bowlers all over the park. The PWI opener held up one end even as he ran out of partners early on and found and able ally in Angelo Mathews.
The Sri Lankan, back in the side after missing four games and having stepped down from captaincy played a vital role in helping Uthappa take the attack to the opposition. During their 63-run partnership they threatened to take the game away from the visitors. On the way to his 19-ball 32, Mathews smashed three sixes to help keep his side in the game after Vinay Kumar had dealt a double blow to knock the hosts back.
Speaking to iplt20.com after the clash, Mathews said that Uthappa’s 45-ball 75 was one of the best innings he had seen from his team-mate. The former skipper also mentioned that the fight that the batters put up was a positive that they will take with them as they look to win some games before the end of the Pepsi Indian Premier League 2013.
Excerpts from the interview:
Whether they fancied their chances after the 63-run partnership between him and Uthappa?
Definitely! If I and Robin were to have been there (till the end), I thought we would have finished off the game but unfortunately we just came so close and once again we ended up losing.
On Uthappa’s knock
It is one of the best knocks that I have ever seen from Robin. He was absolutely brilliant. He paced his innings really well and he took them to the cleaners in the middle overs. I thought he batted extremely well.
On where the match went away from them since they had things under control in the initial part of the RCB innings
AB de Villiers is one of the most dangerous batsmen to bowl at. When he gets going you really cannot think of a field and a ball to bowl. He is that kind of a character and it is always difficult when you are bowling at the death. And Dinda has been really doing the job for us in the past games. Unfortunately he couldn’t do that job. But no blame on him, he tried his extreme best and the batters also fought till the end. It was a pretty uplifting performance by the whole team.
On regrouping and going ahead
We have nothing to lose now and we just have to go there and play positive cricket as we did on Thursday and turn our trump cards and give it our best shot to try and win games.
On the tougher challenge of playing an away game next
It is always tough going away and playing in an opposition’s home. It is going to be tough and I think we have got nothing to lose and if we play cricket like the way we played we can win a few games.
On the positives from the match for PWI
Definitely the chase! It was absolutely brilliant and I thought through most of the overs we were in control but unfortunately in the latter part we could not hold on to the nerves. But while batting I feel the batsmen did a really good job by getting closer to that target because it looked a massive target to chase specially on this wicket.
On whether the wicket had changed as the game progressed
Yes. It is a slow and low wicket and it got slower and lower as the game went on and it wasn’t easy. I thought the batters stood up to the challenge and they were brilliant.