It's been an agonising wait, but Pune Warriors India finally found their element against Rajasthan Royals in a seven-wicket win, claiming their first points in the Pepsi Indian Premier League 2013 at the Subroto Roy Sahara Stadium in Pune on Thursday (April 11). Pune chased down the target of 146 with considerable ease, with Aaron Finch (64 off 53) their star of the day.
Ahead of this clash, Allan Donald, the Pune head coach, had asked his players to take responsibility and "break the shackles" and that was precisely what they did. Finch, who was replacing the injured Marlon Samuels, and Robin Uthappa, the openers, started Pune off with some violent batsmanship. They handed Sreesanth a hammering, taking him for 28 runs in just two overs. In the 19 minutes their partnership lasted, they put up 58 off just 29 balls, providing Pune with a solid start - exactly what they lacked in the two matches they had lost. (Also read: Mathews, Finch credit changed batting approach to victory)
Uthappa, who had scored 32 off just 16, walked back to a brilliant, one-handed catch by Rahul Dravid at midwicket, but he'd served his purpose. With his dismissal, the run-scoring dropped, but Pune needed less than a-run-a-ball, which seemed to deflate Rajasthan. With Ross Taylor for company, Finch carried on with cuts, slogs, flicks and the rest of the ensemble, albeit at a slower rate. Pune took their time, taking care to not lose wickets in a rush.