Mumbai: Pune Warriors notched up their second consecutive victory in the Indian Premier League (IPL) with a comfortable four-wicket victory against Kochi Tuskers Kerala in a battle of debutants here on Wednesday.
Chasing 149 to win set by the Tuskers, the Warriors were at a tricky 118 for six in the 16th over but Mohnish Mishra, who made unbeaten 37 in 21 balls with two fours and as many sixes, and Rahul Sharma (10 not out) stitched a useful 33-run stand in 19 balls to help Pune overhaul the target.
The other useful contributions with the bat for Pune came from Jesse Ryder (17), Graeme Smith (24) and Robin Uthappa who stroked his way to a quick 31 in 13 balls with three fours and two sixes.
Kochi bowlers could not defend the target for the second match running and suffered their second defeat after the loss to Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), while Pune got their second successive win in the tournament after having seen off the challenge from Kings XI Punjab last Sunday.
Earlier, Ravindra Jadeja counter-punched his way to 47 in 33 balls as Kochi recovered from a poor start and posted a modest 148 for eight at the D Y Patil Stadium.
Tottering at 24 for four in the fifth over, Kochi was bailed out by a fine fifth-wicket stand of 88 runs in 64 balls between Brad Hodge (39 in 36 balls) and Jadeja, who struck three sixes and as many fours in his impressive innings that ended in the 17th over.
But for this stand, Kochi would have been bowled out for below 100 by the Warriors bowling attack that put in another impressive display after their superb show against Kings XI Punjab last Sunday.
Their twin dismissals within the space of six balls seemed to have put paid to the hopes of the Tuskers to post a more challenging score but Raiphi Gomez struck a quick-fire 26 not out in 18 balls to help Kochi finish on a brighter note.
Pune started the reply strongly when openers Jesse Ryder and Graeme Smith, batting with a runner following the knee injury he sustained after a collision with Rahul Sharma while fielding, put on 31 in quick time.
But a brilliant, return catch by Vinay Kumar separated the duo and sent back Ryder who smacked the ball back strongly only for the bowler to stick his hand out and latch on to the ball.
Ryder struck R. P. Singh for a couple of fours in the opening over while Smith dealt severely with S. Sreesanth at the other end to force skipper Mahela Jayawardene to remove both the opening bowlers after one over spells.
The move paid dividends when Vinay Kumar sent back Ryder for 17. Jadeja later dismissed Smith with a rank full toss that the left hander hit straight to deep mid wicket to make Warriors 54 for 2.