Pune, April 30 (IANS) Rising Pune Supergiants will look to get their campaign back on track as they take on defending champions Mumbai Indians in the Maharashtra derby of the Indian Premier League (IPL) here on Sunday.
Pune have lost five of their seven games so far and are presently sixth in the eight team tournament with just four points. Their Sunday’s opponents, captained by Rohit Sharma, are third on the points table with four wins from eight matches — more importantly two in the last two.
For Mahendra Singh Dhoni led Pune, time is running out. They have to turn things around in the next few matches to be in contention for the top four.
What would boost the confidence of Pune is the fact that they came out on top the last time these two sides had met. Mumbai had lost the game by nine wickets in the season opener but they are a different side now who are firing on all cylinders. And that is precisely why it would not be a cakewalk for the hosts.
Pune were dented a few days back as Faf du Plessis and Kevin Pietersen were ruled out of the IPL due to injuries but Ajinkya Rahane, Steven Smith and Dhoni have done well.
They will also be boosted by the fact that in-form Australian top-order batsman Usman Khwaja has come in as du Plesis’ replacement.
But Pune’s main worry has been their bowling. Despite putting up a massive 195 on the scoreboard against Gujarat Lions on Friday the bowlers failed to defend it and lost the game by three wickets.
The likes of Albie Morkel, Ashok Dinda, Thissara Perera, and Ravichandran Ashwin all were clobbered to the ropes while only Rajat Bhatia and young spinner Murugan Ashwin were able to pull things back a little. But what is hurting them the most is the lack of a wicket-taking bowler.
Mumbai on the other hand are brimming with confidence after two consecutive wins. The batting has been well led by captain Rohit Sharma and the finishing touches have been provided by Kieron Pollard.
The only thing that could be a bit of a worry would be the inconsistency of Jos Buttler in the middle overs.
The bowling unit has been spearheaded by the New Zealand fast bowling duo of Tim Southee and Mitchell McClanaghan who have been doing a great job, ably supported by youngster Jasprit Bumrah.
Rising Pune Supergiants: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain and wicketkeeper), Ajinkya Rahane, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith, Mitchell Marsh, Jaskaran Singh, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ankit Sharma, Albie Morkel, Irfan Pathan, Ishant Sharma, Ishwar Pandey, Thisara Perera, Saurabh Tiwary, RP Singh, Rajat Bhatia, Ankush Bains, Baba Aparajith, Murugan Ashwin, Ashok Dinda, Deepak Chahar, Scott Boland, Peter Handscomb, Adam Zampa.
Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (captain), Parthiv Patel (wicketkeeper), Hardik Pandya, Jos Buttler, Mitchell McClenaghan, Ambati Rayudu, Kieron Pollard, Harbhajan Singh, Jagadeesha Suchith, Tim Southee, Jasprit Bumrah, Shreyas Gopal, R Vinay Kumar, Corey Anderson, Unmukht Chand, Marchant de Lange, Siddhesh Lad, Kishore Kamath, Krunal Pandya, Deepak Punia, Nitish Rana, Jitesh Sharma, Nathu Singh, Akshay Wakhare, Martin Guptill.