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The Mumbai Indians, who lost their opening match of Pepsi IPL 2013 but recovered swiftly to register two convincing wins, take on Pune Warriors India in Match 15.
The Mumbai Indians have experience and match-winners in every department and are a very formidable team. Pune Warriors India too should be on a high, after they defeated the Rajasthan Royals in their previous match to end their 11-match losing streak.
Saturday, April 13, 2013, 4 p.m
Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai The Protagonists
With all the focus on the two legends – Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting – Dinesh Karthik has silently emerged as the team’s go-to-batsman. The Chennai-lad has scored two brilliant knocks so far; his counter-attacking 86 against the Delhi Daredevils – after Tendulkar and Ponting were dismissed with just one run on the board – will for long be remembered as one of the best innings played in the IPL. The wicketkeeper-batsman mentioned that he enjoyed batting at number three, therefore look out for many more runs from him.
Pune Warriors India seem to have finally found the spark they so desperately needed. Aaron Finch and Robin Uthappa got them off to a flying start in the match against the Rajasthan Royals. The team will expect similar performances from them on a consistent basis and expect cameos from the likes of Yuvraj Singh and Ross Taylor, both of who rank among the most-destructive middle-order batsmen in the world.
Off the four meetings between the Mumbai Indians and Pune Warriors India, the former hold a 3-1 win-loss record. While the Mumbai Indians won both the league fixtures in the 2011 season, both teams won their respective home matches in the 2012 season.
Teams chasing have had better success at the Wankhede Stadium; they’ve won 14 of the 24 matches.
Only once has a player managed to score more than 50 in the four previous matches between the Mumbai Indians and Pune Warriors India.
The Mumbai Indians will travel to the Pink City next to take on the Rajasthan Royals on April 17. Pune Warriors India meanwhile will venture down South when they take on the Chennai Super Kings in Chennai on April 15.
The Chennai Super Kings started off IPL 2013 on the wrong foot, with a loss at home against the Mumbai Indians. However, the two-time IPL champions brought their campaign back on track with a thumping away win over Kings XI Punjab.
As CSK prepare for another tough home game against the pumped up Royal Challengers Bangalore, Coach Stephen Fleming is glad the team will be entering the contest with their morale high.
“The first win is always very important for everybody to settle down and the longer it takes to get there, the more nervous and anxious you get,” Fleming told reporters on the eve of the match. “We’re happy to have got that first win under our belt and our morale is high after the style of win. “Bu having said that, we’re a very realistic side. We don’t get affected by a big defeat or a big win. So, you won’t see us differing from our approach to the game.”
CSK have been bolstered by the arrival of their star South African all-rounder, Albie Morkel, who has won them some crucial games, especially as a finisher with the bat. However, Fleming conceded that the team is most likely to stick with the winning combination from the last match. “He looks good. But to be honest, while he’s always a chance, given how well the team played in the last match, it will be difficult to make a change.
“The overseas players did really well in the last game but often a little twisted ankle or a small injury gives other people opportunities. So, we’ll have a good chat after training and make sure there are no such injuries. If that’s the case, it will be hard for Albie to push his way into the XI,” said the CSK coach.
While hinting at fielding an unchanged contingent of overseas players, Fleming said the team might make an alteration as far as the uncapped Indian fast bowler is concerned. He admitted that Ankit Rajpoot might make way for either Imtiyaz Ahmed or Mohit Sharma.
“Rajpoot only bowled one over in the last game so his position does come up for discussion,” Fleming said. “Imtiyaz Ahmed and Mohit Sharma are very good campaigners and we’ve spoken about them. At the start of the season we spoke about who is the best and most in-form Indian fast bowler we have. And their names will certainly come in the discussion for the team for tomorrow.”
As the talk drifted from CSK to their opposition, Fleming said they were vary of RCB’s form, especially that of Chris Gayle and Virat Kohli. “There’s an excellent rivalry between the two sides and we certainly have respect for them after they’ve won three out of four games. This is going to be a high intensity game with the quality of heads on show and with a guy like Kohli in form, we expect them to fancy their chances of getting a big score,” he said.
However, Fleming was confident that his team will maintain the upper-hand against Gayle and company, like they have in the past, especially since they have a strengthened bowling attack.
“We’ve always managed to combat them well in Chennai and we hope to continue with that. Ashwin has bowled well to Gayle in the past and we’ve used him well. Now we’ve got a bit more firepower and we have other options against him. We’re definitely a stronger bowling side than we’ve been in previous years,” Fleming said.