Bangalore, May 22: The Sahara owned Pune Warriors have played just two seasons so far in the cash-rich league since its inception in 2008. Over the last 24 months, Pune Warriors have come across a lot of highs and lows on and off the cricket field, here is a review of the team's performance in the last two editions of IPL.
Yuvraj Singh, who is currently recovering from a rare germ-cell cancer, led the side in the fourth edition of IPL, as Pune Warriors made its debut in IPL. The season was a disaster as the team owned by Sahara finished ninth, just above the bottom rooted Delhi Daredevils who finished last.
Pune Warriors played 14 matches in 2011 with one match bearing no result, Yuvraj Singh-led team won 4 matches last season but did not play ocnsistently which led to the downfall as they finished ninth in the points table.
While 2012 did promise a good show, after winning four games in the beginning, but did disappoint everyone after their victories over top teams like Mumbai Indians (by 28 runs at Mumbai on Apr 6) Kings XI Punjab (by 22 runs at Pune on Apr 8) Chennai Super Kings (by 7 wickets at Pune on Apr 14) and Delhi Daredevils (by 20 runs at Delhi on Apr 21) as they lost eight consecutive matches to crash out of IPL 5.
The team lost 12 off their 16 league matches to finish last in the points table this year. Though the team did not perform well in both the editions, there were a few positives from this season, as Steve Smith (Australia), Ashok Dinda (India), Angelo Mathews (Sri Lanka), Robin Uthappa (India), Jesse Ryder (New Zealand), Marlon Samuels (West Indies) all contributed to the team's success in those matches and can be groomed for the future editions of IPL.
Interestingly Pune Warriors have played well only against Kings XI Punjab as their winning ratio has been 75% after registering 3 wins against them from 4 matches including 2011 and 2012. Though the team looked strong on paper, the inclusion of Michael Clarke (Australia), Marlon Samuels (West Indies), Wayne Parnell (South Africa) made no difference as they struggled to score runs throughout the tournament.
Bowling too was not upto the mark, as Ashish Nehra with 11 wickets has been the highest wicket-taker for Pune Warriors this season, while Ashok Dinda, Rahul Sharma both have 9 scalps in IPL 5.
Robin Uthappa (India) - has scored 405 runs off 16 matches at an average of 27 with a highest score of 69 in IPL 5 has been the top scorer for Warriors
Steve Smith (Australia) - The Australian has played 15 matches in IPL 5, and can be termed as the most consistent player for Pune Warriors in IPL 5 as he has scored 362 runs at an average of 40.22 with a strike rate of over 135. He has been the second highest run-scorer for the team. He has hit the maximum sixes (14) while Uthappa has 10 sixes to his credit. Smith known for his acrobatic skills, was Warriors' best bet.
Jesse Ryder (New Zealand) - Having played 11 matches, Ryder has collected 256 runs this season at an average of 25.60 with a highest score of 86, to be the fourth highest run-scorer for Pune.
Subrata Roy-owned team, was also in news for various reasons, off-field drama, as there were a few incidents that did not go well for the team since its IPL debut in 2011.
* Sourav Ganguly's inclusion in IPL 4, created a flutter after he remained unsold in the auction (ipl auction 2011)
* Spat between BCCI and Sahara before the start of IPL 5 auction, Sahara's pull out
* Yuvraj Singh diagnosed with a rare germ-cell cancer in the first week of February 2012.
* Yuvraj's absence in IPL 5 and BCCI's disapproval to find a replacement for the World Cup hero, also created a few problems.
* BCCI-Sahara patch up
* Sourav Ganguly's role questioned - after Pune crashed out of IPL 5
* Marlon Samuels' bowling action was under the scanner
* Spot fixing - Mohnish Mishra allegedly involved in spot-fixing following a sting operation conducted by a television channel
* Rahul Sharma, Wayne Parnell, playing for Pune Warriors were detained on charges for consuming banned drugs at a rave party in Juhu on Sunday night.