In a long tournament such as the IPL, one would be wise not to draw large conclusions from some early signs teams might display in their first few games. Pune Warriors would know that well. Last year, they began brightly, winning their first two matches, including one at the superb new stadium on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway in front of a capacity home crowd. Things were looking up, but only temporarily, as Warriors’ fortunes slid rapidly. They won just two of their next 14 games.
This season, their campaign has begun with a defeat, in a game they should have won, and Warriors will be hoping for a reversal that’s as stark as the one they experienced in 2012. They were tied down in a small chase by some excellent bowling by Sunrisers Hyderabad, and their batting needs to come good against the Kings XI Punjab attack that can be a tricky opponent.