Pune Warriors vs Kings XI: Sourav's boys looking to grab the home adavantage against Gilchrist & Co.

Sourav Ganguly led Pune Warriors will cross swords with Kings XI Punjab under Adam Gilchrist at their home ground here on Sunday. "New venue, new skipper, new hopes and a win in the bag. The homecoming for Team Pune couldn't have been more promising," writes The Times Of India, adding, after a creditable performance that saw Sourav Ganguly's men trounce Champions League T20 champions Mumbai in their own den, the team is hoping that the new dawn continues for a while.

"They couldn't have asked for a better setting: the first match at the state-of-the-art Subrata Roy Sahara stadium in Gahunje, off the Expressway, on Sunday night. That too against Punjab, who lost their away game to Rajasthan.  Amidst so many new things happening around them, the Pune outfit was hounded by an old problem at the Wankhede on Friday: the failure of their top order. Manish Pandey looked nervous against the masterful Lasith Malinga while Ganguly, who looked anxious to shake off the stranglehold in the initial overs, lost his wicket against Mumbai offie Harbhajan Singh in the most unusual fashion. The batsman, who generally clears the field once he steps out to hit the spinners, was stumped," writes TOI.

adds that Ganguly’s side must be keen to win their first game before the home crowd. "Playing before their home crowd for the first time ever should boost the confidence of the home team," writes DNA, adding that in their first match, Pune’s bowlers took the match away from Mumbai, but similar performance was missing from their batsmen.

“It was a difficult pitch to bat on, but our spinners did a good job. There is no need for us to worry about batting,” said Ganguly on Saturday.

Ganguly also added that Ashish Nehra is fit to play, though he said the team is yet to be decided. “Ashish is match-fit and ready for the tournament, but the playing XI will be decided tomorrow (Sunday) as with so many good players in the side, it is difficult to choose the final team,” he added.

Though the Warriors have a 100 per cent record against Kings XI, they will not be taking things lightly. Pune have played two matches against Punjab in the last season and they have won both of them.

According to a report in DNA, Kevon Cooper might have come up with an all-round performance against Kings XI Punjab on Friday, but Kolkata Knight Riders's Laxmi Ratan Shukla is hardly impressed with the 23-year-old all-rounder from Trinidad, terming him an ordinary cricketer. "Yes, we have watched him play last night and he seemed to be so so, nothing special," said Shukla.

Meanwhile, South African all rounder Johan Botha has asserted that his team Rajasthan Royals would continue with its policy of supporting young players in the side when they take on Kolkata Knight Riders in their IPL match on Sunday. Insisting that there were no plans of shielding Ashok Menaria from quickies like Brett Lee and M De Lange by sending him down the order instead of playing him at number three, Botha said,"Ashok is a talented player and has played few fine innings last year."

Other news (TOI, DNA, HT, Indian Express, The Hindu)

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