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Mumbai, Pune battle to regain lost form

Press Trust Of India
Apr 19, 2011 at 12:08pm IST

Mumbai: Their winning momentum halted rudely, Mumbai Indians and Pune Warriors would be keen to regain it quickly when they line up against each other in a fourth round match of the Indian Premier League here on Wednesday.

Both the teams had made a strong start to their campaign with two excellent wins on the trot before losing steam through losses despite posting 180-plus totals in their third games.

Sachin Tendulkar's superbly compiled maiden century in Twenty20 cricket for Mumbai went in vain when debutants Kochi Tuskers Kerala pulled the rug from under his team with a brilliant reply at their home venue.

Mumbai, Pune battle to regain lost form

Both the teams had made a strong start with two excellent wins but ended up giving away their third matches.

Fellow-debutants Pune were also forced to eat the humble pie by the winless Delhi Daredevils despite captain Yuvraj Singh's splendid double act- with the bat (66 not out) and the ball (four wickets)- at their home ground, D Y Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai.

The bowling and fielding let down MI after they posted 182 by riding on Tendulkar's masterly 66-ball unbeaten 100 and Ambati Rayudu's punishing 33-ball 53.

The Tuskers chased it down by riding on Brendon McCullum's belligerent 81 after he got a first-ball reprieve, skipper Mahela Jayawardene's 36-ball 56 and Ravindra Jadeja's clobbering knock of 25 not out in 11 balls.

A visibly disappointed Tendulkar had blamed his side's fielding, in particular the dropped catch by Rohit Sharma off the team's pace spearhead Lasith Malinga's first ball, soon after the defeat.

The master batsman has been in superb touch in all three games and in his maiden IPL ton, he revealed certain shots that many thought only India and Chennai Super Kings skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni could play.

Tendulkar remains Pune's biggest hurdle to regain the lost momentum, but there are others like Rayudu and Kieron Pollard, who hasn't had much to do with the bat so far, to complement the batting genius.

Mumbai have depended mostly on Malinga in the beginning and Harbhajan Singh, after the Power Plays, in their bowling. While both have done their bit, others need to step up to the plate and complement them.

Pollard was very expensive in the game against Kochi and did not get to bowl his full quota too while left-arm slow bowler Ali Murtaza was clobbered by Jadeja for consecutive sixes in the penultimate over to seal the win for the Tuskers. It remains to be seen whether he would be retained for the match against Pune.

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