IPL 4 - Kochi hope to get into winning ways

Mumbai: Having lost their Indian Premier League opener in their debut season, Kochi Tuskers Kerala would be eager to turn things around quickly when they lock horns with the other new franchise Pune Warriors at the D Y Patil Stadium.

For this to happen the Kochi bowling attack, that includes maverick pacer S Sreesanth and India discard Rudra Pratap Singh, needs to pull up its socks and deliver the goods.

Kochi`s batting clicked reasonably well as the team managed to post a challenging total of 161 for five against Royal Challengers Bangalore.

But the bowlers failed to show sufficient discipline to defend that score, resulting in a six-wicket defeat at home.

Against Yuvraj Singh-led Warriors, who recorded a comprehensive seven-wicket victory a day later against Kings XI Punjab to start their IPL campaign on a promising note, the Kochi attack needs to show better control.

"Batting is our strength," Yuvraj had said ahead of their lung opener against Punjab but the Pune bowlers and fielders also rose to the occasion to help their team register a thumping win with plenty of overs to spare.

The Tuskers bowlers, including Sri Lanka ace Muttiah Muralitharan, thus need to be at their best to apply brakes on the free-stroking Warriors batsmen like New Zealander Jesse Ryder, Yuvraj and Robin Uthappa.

The trio chipped in with useful knocks, along with seasoned domestic campaigner Mithun Manhas, as Pune easily overhauled the modest score of 112 put up by Punjab in the previous game.

The Warriors bowlers also used the extra bounce on the wicket to unsettle the rival batsmen and, but for Ryan McLaren`s excellent, unbeaten half-century, Kings XI would have folded up for under 100 after being reduced to 9 for 4 at one stage.

Pune`s new ball bowlers -- rookie left arm medium pacer Shrikant Wagh and 34-year-old South African Alphonso Thomas -- produced excellent initial bursts to help their side snatch away the initiative quite early against Punjab.

The 22-year-old Wagh from Buldana impressed on a helpful wicket and made Warriors forget the absence of India`s World Cup-winning team member Ashish Nehra, who is injured.

But more testing times lie ahead of the youngster.


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