New Delhi: Pune Warriors skipper Sourav Ganguly said that the dismissal of his Delhi Daredevils counterpart Virender Sehwag at a crucial juncture turned the game in his side's favour during their 20-run win at the Feroz Shah Kotla in a IPL 5 match on Saturday.
Sehwag was going great guns as the home team chased Pune's mammoth score of 192 for 3, before he was dismissed by Murali Kartik for a 32-ball 57 in the 13th over. The Delhi batting crumbled after that and they could only manage 172 for 7, losing their second match of the tournament, having played six games so far.
"Sehwag was hitting them hard, so it is a relief when he got out. Only when Sehwag got out, we thought we came back into the game," Ganguly said after the match.
Ganguly dismissed Delhi dangerman Kevin Pietersen with his first delivery in the match and he celebrated the wicket with a long run with his fist up the air. Asked about his celebrations, Ganguly said, "Getting KP out was a big relief obviously, which was the reason behind that run."
The Pune skipper also praised young Steven Smith for his cameo - a 13-ball 34 - towards the end of the Pune innings. A 93-run stand between Ganguly and Jesse Ryder (86) laid the platform for Pune after they were put in to bat, before the Aussie joined the pudgy Kiwi in the big-hitting act, both adding 67 off just 32 balls.
Smith, in turn, credited skipper Sourav Ganguly's "gutsy" performance for the team's win over the fancied Delhi side. Ganguly led from the front, scoring 41 runs with the bat before scalping two crucial wickets in the form of dangerman Pietersen and Irfan Pathan.
"The boys played really well. Jesse and Sourav were outstanding [with the bat] in the middle overs," Smith said. Asked about Ganguly's contribution in the match, the Australian said, "He played really well. He brought himself [on to bowl] at a crucial time and got those two wickets. It was pretty gutsy from him."
Smith is hoping to regain his place back in the Australian set-up, riding on the performance of his maiden IPL experience. "I am really enjoying. It is the first time I am playing in the IPL. We have good team, we are a good bunch. As long as we keep improving and play well, we will be a force to reckon with in this IPL," he said. "My main goal is to play for Australia again. In the last three months I have been dropped from all three formats. So, I am just working hard and trying to improve."
Delhi captain Virender Sehwag, meanwhile, agreed with Ganguly, saying that had he stayed at the crease a little longer, the result could have been different. "We needed someone to bat on till the end, irrespective of how many batsmen we had. The wicket was good to bat on, I liked batting on this pitch. But I should have batted till the end, at least till the 16th over," he said. Asked about the run made by Ganguly after dismissing Pietersen, Sehwag said, "Never, I have never seen Sourav run the way he did."