Pune shed their blacks, shred blues
After finishing second last on their debut in 2011, the Ganguly-led side started strongly, humbling Mumbai Indians in their den. Amol Karhadkar reports. Scorecard | Pics | Points table | Sachin recovery may take time | Rahane gives winning start to Dravid reignindia Updated: Apr 07, 2012 01:27 IST
Despite shedding their black attire and replacing them with turquoise blue, the Pune Warriors India would not have been confident of changing their fortunes at the halfway stage.
Even on a wicket that was offering assistance to spinners right from the word go, a total of 129 for nine wasn't comforting enough for the Warriors dug out, especially against the Mumbai Indians.
So what if Sachin Tendulkar was not available for the Mumbai team's first home game, the packed Wankhede Stadium stands expected the formidable Mumbai Indians batting line-up to chase down the target of 130. However, Ashok Dinda, debuting for his third IPL team, and Murali Kartik, helped the newest IPL team take an important step towards turning the tide around as they registered a 28-run victory on Friday.Sharp turn
On a wicket that saw Pragyan Ojha extract a huge amount of turn when the Warriors batted, Kartik, the senior of the two left-arm spinners, always posed a threat to the Mumbai Indians batsmen. And just after the Railways spinner had drawn first blood by foxing the latest IPL sensation Richard Levi in the first over, Dinda put Mumbai firmly on the backfoot in the next over.
Off the first ball he bowled for the Pune Warriors, Dinda forced Ambati Rayudu, who opened the innings since Tendulkar hadn't recovered from his finger injury, to nick one straight to Kartik, the only man in the slip cordon. And off the last ball of the over, Rohit Sharma played a rash stroke off Dinda to throw his wicket away.
At five for three, Mumbai Indians needed one strong partnership to get back into the match. And just when it seemed to flourish between James Franklin and Dinesh Karthik, Kartik got Karthik stumped to help Warriors regain the upper hand.
While unorthodox spinner Rahul Sharma didn't allow Kieron Pollard to wield his long handle, Dinda took the prize scalps of Franklin and skipper Harbhajan Singh to seal the deal for the Warriors.
However, had it not been for Robin Uthappa and Steve Smith's sensible batting, the Warriors would have found it difficult to cross the 100-run mark.
After Manish Pandey couldn't deal with Lasith Malinga's yorker and Sourav Ganguly played all over against Harbhajan, Uthappa put his head down and succeeded in rotating the strike.
And once Wayne Parnell, inexplicably promoted to No 3, was dismissed, Smith took the cue from Uthappa and carried on even after mistiming a pull to offer Pollard a caught and bowled chance.