After thumbing win in their first match, Mumbai sent out a loud signal but none better knows then Ganguly to take on the best in best way.
Mumbai Indians lived up to their pre-tournament tag of “The team to beat” by thrashing the defending and two time IPL champions Chennai Super Kings in their own den. They showed no signs of falling apart under new captain Harbhajan Singh, rather they grown a level higher in their strength with addition of Richard Levi, Pragyan Ojha and Dinesh Karthick in the playing XI and thus ticking the boxes that were missing in previous seasons for to be called as a complete team.
Sahara Pune Warriors might have ignited the new way of promoting the team and brand by making the headlines for all wrong reason at first then drawing everyone attention thereafter till the start of IPL season 5. They got special permission and needless to say they got special attention in media over the last three months beginning from their name of captain to new signings. It’s time for Pune to show it on the field and make the news for right reasons.
Mumbai is well settled unit and they got no problems on deciding their playing XI since they got players to field two competitive IPL teams if needed. On the other hand, Pune and Ganguly got lot to ponder on their final line-up mainly in all-rounder department. Angelo Mathews injury doesn’t help their case either. Ganguly need to decide whether he needs more batting power or bowling options when it comes to deciding the 4 overseas players to play. Harpeet Singh might get the node but if Dada decides to go for experience, then Mishra and Manhas are the options.
The pitch at the Wankhede Stadium is batting paradise but might get drier as the tournament goes into the month of May. But for now, you can expect a true wicket where batsmen are given a license to play all the shots in their book and bowlers need to be smart. A high scoring game is on the cards. Dew is expected to come, so win the toss and bat second is better option.
Sachin Tendulkar is the second highest run getter in the IPL behind Suresh Raina with 1739 runs from 52 match with an average of 40.44 at a SR of 120.01. Tendulkar has played 11 matches lesser than Raina and also have better average but Raina got better striker rate which is expected. Sachin has amazed 1171 runs at an average of 45.03 from the last two IPL seasons.
No changes in the playing XI are expected unless the pitch offers more for seamers and MI camp decides to go for RP Singh ahead of Abu Nechim. Sachin had mild injury scare in last match but he is expected to be fit and if not, then SK Yadav will come in and Karthick will open.
MI XI (Expected): S Tendulkar, R Levi, R Sharma, A Rayudu, D Karthick (wk), J Franklin, K Pollard, H Singh (capt), P Ojha, L Malinga and A Nechim.
The uphill task for Pune is to get the combinations right and also gel together as soon as possible.
PW XI (Expected): S Ganguly (capt), T Iqbal, R Uthappa (wk), M Pandey, M Samuels, M Mishra/H Singh, C Ferguson/L Wright/S Smith, R Sharma, S Wagh, A Dinda and A Thomas.
Not Available: G Smith, M Clarke, A Mathews and A Nehra (doubtful due to injury).
Prediction: It will take something special to beat Mumbai Indians and that too at their home.