I am really happy with the way Pune Warriors have started their journey in the IPL. This is the way we would have liked to make our debut in the league. We achieved that goal in our first game against the Kings XI Punjab. We not only won but also did it convincingly. We have found our road but we have to tread it cautiously to reach our destination. Leaving aside the result, I was really happy with our effort and intensity on the field.
It just shows the kind of effort our team management and especially coach Geoff Marsh has put to get the things going. Due to the World Cup, IPL teams haven't got too much time to prepare and make their strategies. Most of the key players were busy serving their national teams and could only join the squad two or three days before the tournament.
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In a format like this, it's very important to gel and play as a team. Players come from different countries, with different mind-sets and ideas about the game. You need a certain amount of time to settle as a unit and understand each other.
As far as the Warriors are concerned, it's really pleasing to see that despite all the shortage of time we have come together nicely as a unit. The dressing room is full of ideas and banter and everyone has already got their new nicknames. It just shows that we are a happy group of boys and want to do well as a unit.
Coming back to the Kings XI Punjab game, we had our plans and the great thing was that we executed those plans really well. After losing the toss, the onus was on the bowlers to give us the much needed momentum. They were disciplined and right on the money. My previous team Kings XI Punjab has a very new look and this team will rely a lot on the experience and ability of Adam Gilchrist.
Luckily we didn't allow them to get the start they wanted and the wickets of Gilly and Shaun Marsh were key ones for us. After getting the wickets of these two, we didn't allow the intensity to drop and managed to get Kings XI out for a moderate total of 112. New ball bowlers Alfonso Thomas and Shrikant Wagh were the star performers for us and I hope they continue to give us these perfect starts in the coming matches as well.
While chasing the target, despite losing the wicket of Graeme Smith, we didn't allow the opposition to dominate us. Jesse Ryder and Mithun Manhas got the crucial partnership and then Robin Uthappa and I finished the job. So it was a job well done with almost all the boxes ticked.
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I would also like to thank all the Pune Warriors supporters who were there at the Navi Mumbai stadium with black flags and cheering for us. I got to know that people specially came from Pune to see us play and I hope this spirit will continue in the coming matches as well.
Our next stop is Kochi Tuskers at our home ground. Another new entry in the IPL carnival and I'm hoping earnestly that we'll be giving our guests a warm welcome off the field. No doubt that they'll be putting their best foot forward as after losing their first game they would came hard at us. So be ready for yet another fun-filled ride.
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