IPL 2013 Preview: Mumbai Indians favourites in clash against hapless Pune Warriors India

Mumbai Indians have won eight out of their 12 matches and are placed third in the points table with 16 points © IANS

By Devarchit Varma 

Pune: May 10, 2013 

The formidable Mumbai Indians will aim to keep their winning run intact and cement a place in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2013 playoffs, when they take on the hapless Pune Warriors India on Saturday at the Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium in Pune.

The Pune Warriors, who are already out of IPL 2013, succumbed to their 11th defeat in the tournament against Kolkata Knight Riders, and it will be an uphill task for them to get the better of an on-song Mumbai Indians side.

The Mumbai Indians are currently ranked third in the IPL 2013 points table with eight wins in 12 matches, and looking at their current form, a comprehensive win over the Warriors is what the Rohit Sharma-led side would be aiming as it would consolidate their position. 

Mumbai’s batting order has been in terrific form with all of their top-order batsmen, such as Dinesh Karthik, Rohit Sharma, Kieron Pollard, Dwayne Smith and Sachin Tendulkar flourishing. Along with their lethal bowling attack, Mumbai have shown that they have enough firepower to make it big this time around.

The Little Master, who hadn’t had much success in the tournament, smashed a 28-ball 48 to set the tone early for Mumbai’s commanding win over Kolkata Knight Riders in their previous appearance, and the Mumbai Indians will hope that Tendulkar continues to fire in the coming games as well.

Mumbai’s bowling department comprising Mitchell Johnson and Lasith Malinga at the helm, have been impressive. Even the spinners, Harbhajan Singh and Pragyan Ojha, have performed well in tandem, which makes the Mumbai Indians a tough side to beat.

On the other hand, Aaron Finch-led Pune Warriors India continue to reel at the bottom of the pool with their woeful run not appearing to end soon.

Pune batsmen produced a spineless show against the KKR on Thursday night, as barring Robin Uthappa (31) and Angelo Mathews (40), their batsmen never looked comfortable while chasing 153. Uthappa and Finch continue to remain Pune’s batting mainstay.

The poor form of star all-rounder Yuvraj Singh has even hurt them more. Yuvraj has garnered only 172 runs in 10 games and his struggle in the middle-order is one of the main reasons of Pune’s yet another disappointing run in IPL. Steven Smith, their key player in all departments, has flown back home for treatment and his absence has certainly deflated them.

The bowlers have struggled towards the death overs, as the opponents have taken the advantage of their shortcoming on more than one occasion. The absence of an experienced spinner in their ranks has certainly added more to their woes.

However, the talented young seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar stands out from the lot with few good performances.

Finch spoke about paying back the faith the Pune owners have shown with their team, but unfortunately, their performance against Kolkata was nowhere close to that. On the other hand, Mumbai are exuding with confidence, and their current form makes them red-hot favourites for the clash.

Teams:

Pune Warriors India (Probable):  Robin Uthappa, Aaron Finch (c), Udit Birla, Yuvraj Singh, Mitchell Marsh, Angelo Mathews, Mahesh Rawat (wk), Parvez Rasool, Wayne Parnell, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Krishnakant Upadhyay.

Mumbai Indians (Probable): Dwayne Smith, Sachin Tendulkar, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Rohit Sharma (c), Kieron Pollard, Ambati Rayudu, Harbhajan Singh, Mitchell Johnson, Lasith Malinga, Pragyan Ojha, Abu Nechim

Time: 16.00 local | 10.30 GMT

(Devarchit Varma is a cricket fanatic who finds nothing more exciting to do than to write, watch or talk about the sport. Having played the game at club and college level, he now pursues his passion as a scribe)