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Arun Gopalakrishnan in Mumbai 02 May 2012 - 11:14pm IST

Preview: Match 45 – PWI v MI

Pune Warriors India host Mumbai Indians in their return leg

The Pune Warriors India started their IPL 2012 campaign with consecutive victories against the Mumbai Indians and Kings XI Punjab – but they’ve lost their last three matches as well. With the race for a place in the top four heating up, they need to immediately arrest their slide and look to move up the table. They are barely above the ground floor of the league standings and have a chance to move into the top half of the table when they take on the Mumbai Indians in Match 45 of DLF IPL 2012.

The Mumbai Indians, rated among the top teams prior to the start of the season, have been rusty too; they have five wins from nine matches and barely scraped through in their previous match against the Deccan Chargers.

When

Thursday, May 3, 2012, 08:00 p.m.


Where


Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium, Pune


The Protagonists


Though the Pune Warriors India have a lot of talent and depth in their batting line-up, they haven’t quite scored runs at a pace one would normally associate with Twenty20 cricket. Their overall tournament scoring-rate of 7.50 only highlights the fact that they haven’t quite found their feet yet. Robin Uthappa has the reputation of being one of the most dangerous players in Twenty20 cricket. The Coorg lad is among the top ten run-getters in the tournament, but his tournament strike-rate of 119.60 (compared to his career strike-rate of 134) only confirms that he has been below par so far. He needs to start firing at the top of the order and hope that the likes of Michael Clarke, Sourav Ganguly and Steve Smith can play their roles too.

In the Mumbai Indians’ line-up, Sachin Tendulkar, as always, will continue to be the cynosure. The Little Master hasn’t quite lit up the scoreboard yet, and given the tournament is nearing the business end, it might just be the time for him to come good.

Despite all the talent at his disposal and despite the mountain of runs he scores, Rohit Sharma has often disappointed his fans by throwing his wicket away with poor shot selection. Rohit Sharma had done all the hard work, looked well-set to take his team past the finish line, but it was his dismissal at a crucial juncture that put the match back in the balance. The 25-year-old needs to learn to start valuing his wicket a lot more and take his team past the finish line once he’s well set.

Keep an eye on the man who has hit timber more often than others in Twenty20 cricket – Lasith Malinga. Apart from picking up wickets, the Sri Lankan has been miserly too; his economy rate of 5.06 is the best in the tournament, and he will know he is within striking distance of the Purple Cap.

Previous Meetings

Ashok Dinda’s four-wicket haul led the Pune Warriors India to their first ever win over the Mumbai Indians when the two teams met earlier this season. After posting a modest 129 for nine in their 20 overs, PWI restricted their opponents to 101 for nine to win by 28 runs.

Prior to that contest at the Wankhede Stadium on April 6, the two teams had met twice in IPL 2011, and Mumbai Indians came up triumphant on both occasions.

Trivia

The Mumbai Indians have the poorest scoring rate out of the nine teams in IPL 2012 – 7.19.

The Pune Warriors India have conceded the most sixes in IPL 2012 – 57.

What next?


The Pune Warriors India will head to Kolkata following this fixture to take on the Kolkata Knight Riders on May 4, while the Mumbai Indians will prepare to host defending champions, Chennai Super Kings, on Sunday, May 6.

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