Their top-order came together as a force to reckon with, smashing the living daylights out of the opposition and their bowlers did a commendable job in trying to defend a challenging total of 161. But in the end, it was not enough to get past the verve and brilliance of an A B de Villiers. They appeared to have covered all the bases when out of the blue, this master class batsman launched a surprise late assault to deprive them of victory. Now, the southern side will certainly be keeping their fingers crossed that they don't run into another nemesis from Pune.
The Kochi pacers in Sreesanth, R P Singh and Vinay Kumar, who didn't bowl particularly shrewdly in the match against RCB, will have more than their hands full in getting through the formidable Pune top-order. With only Graeme Smith missing out against the Kings, Jesse Ryder, Mithun Manhas, Robin Uthappa and Yuvraj Singh have shown that they are not going to mess around. Of course, one area of concern for the Warriors will be that thier latter order hasn't had a chance to bat, but the fact that there are such pedigreed batsman up front would negate that worry.
Meanwhile, Kochi will be hoping that their openers - VVS Laxman and Brendon McCullum will join forces to give their side another forceful start. If one of the two goes early, it could effect the equation significantly. After all, the two put on 80 runs from just 9 overs! Even Pune hasn't shown that they can equal that level of belligerence as yet. But they along with Mahela Jayawardene, Brad Hodge and Ravindra Jadeja will have to stay on their toes and be wary of the destructive potential of Pune's Shrikant Wagh ad Alfonso Thomas who took 5 wickets between them against the Kings.
So a scintillating contest is on the cards. It will be a battle of the batters with Pune's bowling holding a slight edge over Kochi.