Mumbai: Australian Steven Smith, who was adjudged Man-of-the-Match for his contribution of 39 runs, praised medium-pacer Ashok Dinda for providing Pune Warriors the early breakthroughs in their Indian Premier League match against Mumbai Indians here on Friday.
"I had not seen much of him, to be honest. He bowled very well early on, swung the ball and took a few early wickets and really gave us a chance to get into their middle-order," said Smith.
Dinda scalped four wickets as Pune Warriors successfully defended their total of 129 to register a 28-run win over Mumbai Indians in a low-scoring match at the Wankhede Stadium. Pune restricted Mumbai to 101 for 9 in the allotted 20 overs. Dinda grabbed 4 for 18 in two spells of four overs, including two wickets in his first over.
"Tonight, it was just about going out there and getting our skills to do the work. We got the better of Mumbai tonight," said Smith, who put on 44 runs in 48 balls for the fifth wicket with Robin Uthappa (36) to rally the Warriors' innings from 47 for 4.
Keeping the slow nature of the wicket in mind, the Australian all-rounder said he and Uthappa were of the opinion that a total of 140 would be a fighting score. "The wicket was a bit slow and there was also some turn. It was quite tough to start on but we knew, Robin and I, in the middle there if we could get a partnership going and get to 140, we would be right in the game," he said.
"I would have loved to bowl on this wicket, but the others did the job and I was not needed," he added.
Smith said it would be difficult to cement his place in the playing eleven with so many overseas players around. "It's obviously tough to keep my place with plenty of overseas players coming in later. But as long as we play well as a group that's what matters to me the most."