Pune Warriors face tough task

Pune Warriors would need to lift themselves up by the boot-straps when they clash with Chennai Super Kings just a day after being crushed 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 first appearance 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 consecutive ties to Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede Stadium, and to CSK at the latter's backyard - Chidambaram Stadium. On a slow 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 method 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 it's not clear when the South African southpaw would completely recover from the hamstring strain."He (Smith) feels much better now," said a team source.


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