Pune Warriors face tough task in return clash against Chennai
Mumbai: Pune Warriors would need to lift themselves up by the boot-straps when they clash with Chennai Super Kings just a day after being beaten by them, at their home venue, the D Y Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai.
The Warriors, led by India`s World Cup hero Yuvraj Singh, began their debut season on a high with back-to-back victories over Kings XI Punjab and Kochi Tuskers Kerala earlier this month, both at the DYP.
But the defeat against Delhi Daredevils at their home venue, despite scoring an imposing total of 187 for 5 started the Warriors` slide and they lost successive ties to Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede Stadium, and to CSK at the latter`s backyard - Chidambaram Stadium.
On a sluggish pitch last night, Warriors allowed the Mahendra Singh Dhoni-skippered Super Kings to score 140-plus through less-than-perfect work on the field and their batsmen failed to get going in the run-chase.
Two big defeats in the space of five days would be a dampener and the task in front of Warriors is to put the past behind and regroup as a winning combination in home conditions which suit their style of play.
In fact, the DYP stadium track brings out their best as it helps the pacers get movement and the batsmen like Yuvraj, Jesse Ryder and Robin Uthappa to play shots more freely because the ball comes on to the bat nicely.
Uthappa made a duck and was bowled round his legs while trying to sweep R Ashwin, but a return to a venue where he has batted much better would lift his spirits.
The unavailability of the injured Graeme Smith did affect the team`s balance as Mohnish Mishra was sent up to open with Jesse Ryder and its not clear when the South African southpaw would completely recover from the hamstring strain.
"He (Smith) feels much better now," said a team source.
The Warriors also need to be at their physical best as they would be playing four matches, counting the first leg tie against the defending champions, in the space of six days which includes travelling to Bangalore and Jaipur too after tomorrow`s home game.
The return to DYP could result in a call-up to Wayne Parnell at the cost of Nathan McCullum who played in Chennai. With Jerome Taylor performing very well, the new ball bowling looks meatier, but the same cannot be said about the slow bowling as Murali Kartik has been less than par for the course.