About the Match
The stage is set for the 2nd IPL game of the season wherein two-time champions, Mumbai Indians, to take on Rising Pune Supergiant who finished last from bottom in the previous season of IPL. The match will be played at Maharashtra Cricket Association's International Stadium, Pune on 6th April 2017. Mumbai Indians narrowly missed the playoffs in the previous season as they finished fifth in the points table. RPS, on the other hand, just evaded the bottom spot finishing two points clear of KXIP. Both the teams will be hoping for the change in fortunes in this new season. Mumbai Indians have always been slow starters and will love to remove that tag whereas RPS will be looking to make a statement after a forgetful last year's performance.
Rising Pune Supergiant
RPS jumped right into the controversy when they removed Mahendra Singh Dhoni as skipper of the side. Although not a skipper, MSD still remains to be a vital part of the team led by Steven Smith. RPS progress last year was hampered by a lot of injuries to their important players and it hasn't been a different start this year as well with Mitchell Marsh ruled out of the tournament. They've roped in Imran Tahir as his replacement which appears to be an excellent choice taking into consideration the spinning tracks in India.
Pune purchased Ben Stokes and Dan Christian to strenghten the all-rounders department in their team. The move already appears to be masterclass as they have lost the services of Mitchell March to injury. Other than those mentioned above, they have the likes of Ajinkya Rahane, Faf du Plessis, and Ravichandran Ashwin.
They do not have any express fast bowler available at their disposal, but the combo of Rajat Bhatia, R Ashwin and Adam Zampa did pretty well last time around. Ben Stokes will add to the options available and his bowling might well be the key to Pune's success. All in all Pune appears to be a better outfit as compared to what it was in 2016 and with the new additions to the team, they'd hoping to do a lot better.
Ajinkya Rahane - Mayank Agarwal - Faf du Plessis - Steve Smith (c) - Ben Stokes
- MS Dhoni - R Ashwin - Rajat Bhatia - Adam Zampa
- Ashok Dinda - Ishwar Pandey.
Mumbai Indians have a squad which has almost been same in last few editions of IPL. They won the title in 2015, but fared poorly last year despite having almost the same squad. They've always had the the problem in picking the right players for the opening slot and the Parthiv and Rohit duo appeared to have solved the problem upto some extent. Their middle order is heavily dependent on the performance of their overseas players in Jos Butler and Kieron Pollard.
Mumbai Indians is one of the few teams who would be confident about their bowling. With players like Harbhajan Singh, Mitchell Johnson, Jasprit Bumrah, and Lasith Malinga, Rohit Sharma will have plenty of options in the middle. In addition to aforementioned players, Krunal Pandya, Hardik Pandya and Kieron Pollard can bowl as well.
Mumbai Indians lack an experienced batsman in the middle order who can steady the ship in case of quick wickets and up the ante when required. Jos Buttler can do that job, but hasn't been amongst the runs lately. Overall, Mumbai Indians is a tough team to bat against, especially with so many options. With a little brittle middle-order, they cannot afford to lose early wickets and if they can avoid that, they have the batsmen who can hit big in the the slog overs.
Rohit Sharma (c) - Parthiv Patel (wk) - Ambati Rayadu - Jos Buttler - Kieron Pollard
- Hardik Pandya - Krunal Pandya - Harbhajan Singh - Mitchell Johnson - Lasith Malinga
- Jasprit Bumrah.
- RPS and MI have met two times in the IPL before and both the sides have won one game each.
- Rohit Sharma is one of the top batsmen in IPL batting charts and is just 23 runs shy of completing 3000 runs in IPL for Mumbai Indians. Overall, he has scored 3874 runs with only Suresh Raina and Virat Kohli ahead of him.
- This would be the first time MS Dhoni will be playing an IPL game, not as a captain. He has played 143 games as a captain which is most by any player in IPL, 36 ahead of Gautam Gambhir who is next on the list.
Rising Pune Supergiant have a battery of experienced batsmen in the top order and it would be a treat to watch the battle between their batsmen and Mumbai Indians' bowlers. Mumbai Indians have always been slow starters and they take some matches to get their combination right. Pune, on the other hand, has the players who have done well in IPL. With Steve Smith and MS Dhoni in prime form and most the players involved in some sort of competitive cricket, Pune goes into this match as favorites