Mumbai Indians are one of the two teams that Rising Pune Supergiants have managed to beat so far in seven matches of the ongoing Indian Premier League season. In fact, it was against the defending champions that the MS Dhoni-led outfit made an impactful debut at the Wankhede Stadium with a nine-wicket win. Today, a series of underwhelming performances have made that result a distant but happy memory for Pune and when they square off against Mumbai in the second leg at home, the aim will be to take confidence from their previous meeting and channelize it to put their faltering campaign back on track in second game of Sunday’s double-header.
Mumbai are following their template of gaining strength with every match as the season progresses which has seen them claiming a convincing victory against a strong Kolkata Knight Riders in their last match. The concern over the form of key players (read Kieron Pollard) is a thing of the past. The star cast is doing what it’s known to do best while the support cast has also stepped up.
As a result, they are fourth in the points table and have the chance of jumping to the second spot provided they can beat Pune. That Dhoni and coach Stephen Fleming are frustrated with the way the team has been shaping up has been evident from their press briefings. Injuries to Kevin Pietesen and Faf du Plessis have hurt their batting but Steven Smith’s delightful maiden T20 century, albeit in a losing cause, against Gujarat Lions comes as a massive boost to their weakened top-order.
Venue: Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Pune
Date: May 1, 2016
Time: 20:00 IST
Weather: A hot day with temperatures reaching a high of 38 degree Celsius.
As if the form of their bowlers wasn’t a worry, the injuries to key players Pietersen and Du Plessis came as a body blow which has further dented their confidence. Reinforcement in Usman Khawaja has been brought but it’s not clear when the Australian, who had a terrific Big Bash League, will join the squad. The fitness of all-rounder Mitchell Marsh is also a concern.
ProbableXI: 1 Ajinkya Rahane, 2 Saurabh Tiwary, 3 Steven Smith, 4 MS Dhoni (capt), 5 Thisara Perera, 6 Peter Handscomb, 7 Rajat Bhatia, 8 R Ashwin, 9 Albie Morkel/Mitchell Marsh, 10 Ashok Dinda, 11 Murugan Ashwin .
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