There were no regrets from Pune after their decision to bat Mohnish Mishra at six in the order paid off in their four-wicket win over the Kochi Tuskers Kerala.
The 27-year-old right-hander, who usually opens the batting or comes in at first drop for Madhya Pradesh in Indian domestic competition, nailed a quickfire 37 not out down the order as the Warriors franchise successfully chased down their 149-run target to rise the top of the Indian Premier League standings on Wednesday.
His 21-ball blitzkrieg included two towering sixes off the bowling of veteran Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan and surely cemented his spot in the Pune starting XI for the duration of the Twenty20 tournament.
“Mohnish keeps telling me that he wants to open, but I tell him he is a good number six, and he is going to be at number six from now on,” insisted triumphant skipper Yuvraj Singh.
Mohnish collected the Man of the Match award for his effort and agreed with his IPL captain that his days at the top of the knock were on the backburner for the time being.
“I am happy with number six. It is a challenge for me to bat at this position. I had not faced Muralitharan much, but I watched him closely and went for it,” he enthused.
Defeated Kochi captain Mahela Jayawardene was left to rue ducks from openers Brendon McCullum and VVS Laxman and a mere eight runs from himself, which ultimately forced Brad Hodge’s knock of 39 and Ravindra Jadeja’s 47-run vigil to pick up the pieces en route to a modest total of 148 for eight.
“From where we started, losing three or four wickets at the start, we came back strongly, but could not finish the game. We have to ensure we do that. T20 cricket, you have to do that, one or two overs here or there, and you lose a game,” lamented Jayawardene.
Wednesday’s result resigned the Tuskers to their second consecutive defeat of the tourney after Saturday’s six-wicket loss to Bangalore.
“This is just the beginning of the tournament. We need not go negative about how it has gone so far. I think just one win can change things for us and the momentum will take us ahead in the tournament,” concluded Jayawardene. Cricket365