Losing three quick wickets in seven balls and all at the same score of 45 was the turning point of the match, said Pune Warriors batsman Robin Uthappa after his team went down by six wickets to Deccan Chargers in an IPL tie in Navi Mumbai.
"Yes, I think immediately after Power Play losing those three wickets to the spinners made the difference. We could not capitalise on the good start we got," said Uthappa referring to the 31-run start provided by Pune openers which was frittered away.
Pune lost the wickets of Manish Pandey, Uthappa and Manhas - the last two off successive balls to leg spinner Amit Mishra - at the same score of 45 and went on to make a modest 136 for nine which was comfortably overhauled by the Deccan.
"It's been happening over and over again. It's one of those seasons everything you try goes against you. It's a little tough to take. I thought Mitchell (Marsh) batted well to take us to a fighting total," said Uthappa of Marsh, who top-scored for Pune with 37 runs in 28 balls.
Uthappa said though his team were out of the reckoning for the play-offs, still they would like to play and win the last two games and avoid finishing with the wooden spoon.
"We need to play for pride. We have been together for 2 and a-half months, the domestic players. Definitely, we would play for pride. We would not want to be there at the bottom of the table. The season is not over yet. If we can finish on a high we would be better psychologically for the next season," he said.
Uthappa said his team's strength was in its spin bowling.
"I think our spinners are our main bowlers. Rahul (Sharma) and Yuvi (team captain Yuvraj Singh) have been bowling well. It was important to keep them in the middle. We wanted to quieten them (Deccan batsmen) down in the middle overs. We wanted the game to go to the last 2-3 overs as in that situation anything can happen. The game can even swing back your way.
"When we played against them at their own ground (Hyderabad) they struggled against our spinners. Yuvi picked up a few wickets. The game went down to the wire today. Initially, we did not start off well. We picked up in the middle and took it to the end," he said.
Uthappa, though disappointed for not making the Indian ODI squad to the West Indies, was happy with his own batting right through the season but feels he could have done better in the IPL.
"This is not the end of the world. I am still just 25. There is a long way ahead. There are things I have to work on. I have had a pretty long season from October and am looking forward to the break. I want to finish off on a high. The season has gone pretty well for me personally. I want to finish off with 2 wins.
"In this tournament, given the situations I have lived up to my own expectations 60-70 per cent. I am happy with my wicket-keeping. I could have done more in batting, but in a lot of situations I have been batting 3-4 wickets down after 6-7 overs," he said.
"In those situations I have done fairly enough, but definitely there's room for improvement. I want to work on a lot of things in my batting, especially finishing off the games which are very important," Uthappa added.