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Living on hope, Warriors run into rampaging Mumbai Indians

After answering half-a-dozen queries on Sourav Ganguly's signing, during the media interaction on the eve of the Pune Warriors' must-win tie against the Mumbai Indians, skipper Yuvraj Singh paused and asked, "Any cricketing questions?" Amol Karhadkar reports. Matchbox

cricket Updated: May 04, 2011 01:38 IST
Amol Karhadkar
Amol Karhadkar
Hindustan Times
Amol Karhadkar

After answering half-a-dozen queries on Sourav Ganguly's signing, during the media interaction on the eve of the Pune Warriors' must-win tie against the Mumbai Indians, skipper Yuvraj Singh paused and asked, "Any cricketing questions?"

Yuvraj surely didn't mean Ganguly's coming on board wasn't a "cricketing" decision. But what the captain of the beleaguered unit - having lost six matches on the trot - meant was if there were questions on the top-ranked Mumbai Indians.

While Ganguly's joining the squad was on the Warriors' mind, they hadn't overlooked the most important objective- to get back to winning ways, something they seem to have forgotten after winning their first two encounters.

Even as Ganguly was hogging the limelight even before joining his new team, another southpaw was giving the Warriors some hope of a revival.

Graeme Smith, South Africa's Test skipper, had a proper nets session on Tuesday after almost a fortnight. The opening batsman, who had injured his leg during a collision with Rahul Sharma, looked in slight discomfort while batting in the nets.

With the Warriors' batsmen consistently failing to convert their starts into big scores, Smith's fitness augurs well for them.

What doesn't bode well is to be up against the best team of the competition.

The Mumbai Indians have not only emerged as the most balanced, they are also the most consistent outfit.

Moreover, even if it's a home game for the Warriors, the stands at the Dr DY Patil Sports Stadium, which are likely to be filled for the first time, are set to support the visiting team more than the hosts.

Obviously, Yuvraj was wary of playing the best team at this juncture. "It can be best, it can be worst. The worst thing is that you are playing the best team of the tournament and the best thing is that if you beat the best team, you can beat lot of other teams, so it can work both ways."

Will it work for the Warriors or will it be yet another Mumbai Indians' night?

Rhodes on Ganguly
Mumbai Indians' fielding coach Jonty Rhodes says expecting Sourav Ganguly to make a difference to the floundering campaign of Pune Warriors is asking for too much.

He, however, added that if Ganguly is successful in instilling confidence in the Yuvraj Singh-led side, they would be a difficult team to handle.

"It's all played in the field. You can talk to players as much as you want. I think Gary (Kirsten) did it well for India but he had a three-year plan. So to bring Ganguly now and to expect him to make a big difference on and off the field is a big ask," the former South African batsman told reporters.

"It's obviously a step which they believe is in the right direction. He is a player with great experience and knowledge about the game. And also someone who the young Indian players look upto," he said.