Smith injured as Pune win
Jason Humphries - SuperSport
Mumbai - The Pune Warriors won the battle of the IPL newcomers as they downed the Kochi Tuskers Kerala by four wickets in their match at the DY Patil Stadium on Wednesday.
Pune and Kochi are the two new franchises in this year’s IPL and Pune, chasing 149 for victory, eventually cruised to 151 for six with seven balls of their innings remaining.
The home side made life a touch difficult for themselves as they slipped to 118 for six in the 16th over.
But Mohnish Mishra ended the match in a hurry as he slammed a four and two sixes during the 19th over, bowled by off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan, to end not out on 37 off 21 balls.
Pune’s top three batsmen all reached double figures but Jesse Ryder (17), Graeme Smith (24) and Mithun Manhas (12) failed to capitalise on their starts.
Smith was forced to bat with a runner after colliding with teammate Rahul Sharma while fielding with the big South African seeming to be battling with a knee injury.
Robin Uthappa took the attack to the Kochi bowlers as he belted his way to 31 off just 13 balls but just as Uthappa looked to have taken the match away from the visitors he was bowled after playing an ill-advised reverse sweep shot to Muralitharan.
However, the 27-year-old Mishra kept his cool to see his team to their second consecutive win.
Part-time off-spinner Brad Hodge was the most impressive bowler for Kochi as he ended with figures of two for 14 off two overs.
Wayne Parnell had earlier turned in a fine display of swing bowling as the Pune restricted Kochi to 148 for eight.
Left-arm quick Parnell finished with figures of three for 45 as Kochi, who won the toss and elected to bat, were reduced to 24 for four inside five overs.
Parnell, who extracted appreciable swing and seam movement with the new ball, nabbed two wickets in his first over and another in his second as his opening spell produced figures of 2-0-5-3.
Unfortunately for Parnell he blotted his copybook somewhat by allowing 19 runs off the last over of the innings.
Seamer Alfonso Thomas had started the rot with the first ball of the innings when he had Brendon McCullum (0) caught behind before Parnell bowled VVS Laxman (0) off an inside edge.
Parnell then had Mahela Jayawardene (2) caught behind by keeper Uthappa before the 21-year-old South African had Parthiv Patel (21) caught at first slip when the left-handed batsman chased a delivery that swung away from him.
Kochi’s innings was given a touch of respectability thanks to an 88-run fifth-wicket stand off 10.3 overs between Ravi Jadeja and Hodge.
Jadeja launched an immediate counter-attack as his first three scoring shots all resulted in fours.
The left-handed batsmen eventually struck three fours and three sixes as he blazed his way to 47 off 33 balls.
Hodge was slightly more circumspect, as he faced 36 deliveries in scoring his 39, and he eventually fell in search of quick runs when he was superbly caught by a diving Murali Kartik at long-off off the bowling of leg-spinner Sharma.
Jadeja was on his way back the pavilion three runs later, when he skyed a delivery from medium-pacer Ryder to Parnell at mid-off, as Kochi slipped to 113 for six.
However, Raiphi Gomez provided the innings with some late impetus as he romped to 26 not out off 18 balls and he was chiefly responsible for ruining Parnell’s final return.
Pune Warriors: GC Smith, JD Ryder, Yuvraj Singh (capt), RV Uthappa (wk), M Manhas, MD Mishra, R Sharma, M Kartik, SB Wagh, WD Parnell, AC Thomas
Kochi Tuskers Kerala: DPMD Jayawardene (capt), PA Patel (wk), VVS Laxman, BB McCullum, BJ Hodge, RA Jadeja, RV Gomez, M Muralitharan, R Vinay Kumar, RP Singh, S Sreesanth