About the Match
Mumbai Indians and Rising Pune Supergiant occupy the first and fourth positions respectively in the IPL points table. These two teams will now take on each other in the 28th match of the league at Mumbai on 24th April. On one hand, a win here will keep Mumbai right at the top of the table; but on the other, Pune would be eager to maintain the momentum they have been able to generate with two consecutive wins in their last two matches.
Mumbai Indians are on a roll. They have lost only one game so far, in their first match of the season; but interestingly it was against Pune, and was a rather closely fought contest. They posted a good total batting first, but their bowling attack could not stop Ajinkya Rahane and Steven Smith from chasing down the target.
But after that game, Mumbai were able to find the right combination, and have now won six matches in a row, winning both home and away. They have now defeated Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Gujarat, Punjab and Delhi in a row and are looking like a well settled and increasingly difficult to overcome unit with each passing game.
Mumbai’s batting has looked good thus far, with Nitish Rana, Pollard, Jos Butler, Rohit Sharma and Pandya brothers playing important roles at different times in different games. In their last game against Delhi, when the batsmen suffered a rare collective failure; their bowlers took charge, led by Jasprit Bumrah and Mitch McClenaghan, and were able to defend a subpar total of 142 runs.
Such a strong batting unit, along with a dependable bowling line up, makes Mumbai one of the teams to beat at this stage of the tournament; and with the kind of momentum they are bringing into this game; they would be really hard to overcome for Pune.
Rising Pune Supergiant
Pune the team and their most iconic player, MS Dhoni, were both under the hammer after three consecutive losses. But with two wins in a row, the second coming on the back of a superb chase heralded by Dhoni, Pune have jumped into the upper half of the points table and finally seem to have found a settled unit.
Pune started their campaign with an emphatic win over Mumbai Indians, chasing down 185 runs with ease. However, they fizzled after that and couldn’t translate the opening success to wins in the matches thereafter. They lost three matches in a row, against Punjab, Delhi and Gujarat, and kept making changes to the side in a bid to find the perfect winning combination, but failed to do so.
Then against Bangalore, they finally found the right combination. Their Indian bowlers, Shardul Thakur and Jaydev Unadtak, complemented Imran Tahir beautifully and led Pune to a much required win. In their last match against Hyderabad, the bowlers did reasonably well, but the chase was still a stiff one. But this time, MS Dhoni finally came to the party, and with able support from Rahul Tripathi, took Pune home in a nail biter.
Pune now have two wins in a row, their team looks settled, and they finally have some momentum going into this game. They will be facing Mumbai, who simply find a way to win out of any situation.
But Pune are the only team to have defeated them this year and they surely would be confident of repeating the feat in this game.
Mumbai and Pune are facing each other for the second time this season. The match being held at Mumbai, offers the all important home advantage to Mumbai Indians, in addition to the momentum of six consecutive wins. But Pune seem to have found answers to a lot of their issues as well. They bring some of their own momentum into this game, and have the confidence of beating Mumbai once. With such explosive and in form outfits colliding, this match promises to be a cliff hanger; but Pune have done it once and taking confidence from that win, they might be able to ace this Mumbai team again.