Pune Warriors India kickstart their IPL 2012 campaign by clashing with the Mumbai Indians who outshone the Chennai Super Kings in the opening fixture of the competition. It was a near-perfect performance from MI the other night in Chennai; the bowlers stuck to their task, the fielders backed up the bowling brilliantly, and the batsmen completed the chase with ease.
Pune Warriors India, meanwhile, will begin the season hoping to improve significantly from their performance last season where they finished ninth in the team standings.
Thursday, April 6, 2011, 04:00 p.m.
Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai The Protagonists
South African batsman Richard Levi, who came into the IPL after slamming the fastest century in Twenty20 Internationals, impressed on IPL debut by scoring a half-century on a tricky surface at Chennai. Look out for him and for his opening partnership with Sachin Tendulkar. Mumbai Indians historically haven’t had great opening stands and the pairing of Levi and Tendulkar could just be the answer to that problem.
Also, look out for the usual suspects – Kieron Pollard and Lasith Malinga – and for Ambati Rayudu. The 26-year-old has been a consistent performer in a variety of roles for Mumbai Indians, and this season could be the boost he needs to realise his Team India dreams.
In the Pune Warriors India colours, keep a close eye on Sourav Ganguly; the 39-year-old came out of retirement and played for Bengal in domestic cricket in order to prepare himself for the IPL. The passion and intent is alive in him – but can he dominate bowlers like he did in his prime?
Also look out for the exciting Robin Uthappa and Jesse Ryder. Both men are capable of winning contests single-handedly; Uthappa did so for Karnataka in the domestic South Zone Twenty20 competition on more than one occasion while Ryder’s on-field credentials are indubitable.
On the bowling front, look out for Rahul Sharma who impressed in IPL 2011 and went on to play for India. He will want to prove last season’s success was not a flash in the pan. Previous Meetings
Mumbai Indians have a 100 percent win record against the Pune Warriors India; MI beat PWI on both occasions the teams clashed in IPL 2011. In the first meeting between these teams, at Mumbai, MI bowled out PWI for 118 and chased down the target off the last ball. In the second meeting, at Navi Mumbai, MI posted 160 for seven batting first and restricted their opponents to 139 for seven. Trivia
• Mumbai Indians have in their line-up the top three wicket-takers in the IPL. RP Singh tops the chart with 64 wickets, while Lasith Malinga (63 wickets) and Pragyan Ojha (62) follow him closely in second and third position respectively.
• Mumbai Indians are one of two teams (the other being Delhi Daredevils) to have effected 50 run outs in the history of the IPL. In the last game against CSK too, they ran three batsmen out.
• Among players who’ve scored more than 1000 runs in Twenty20 cricket, Mumbai Indians’ Kieron Pollard has the best batting strike-rate; he has scored 2597 runs at a strike-rate of 162.71. What next?
Pune Warriors India will be seen in action in two days’ time when they host Kings XI Punjab on April 8. Mumbai Indians will enjoy a couple of days’ break before they take the field against the Deccan Chargers at Visakhapatnam on April 9.