Two teams from Maharashtra will fight it out today in a crucial encounter of the ongoing Indian premier League. The tournament has entered its business end and both the teams will be looking for those two points which can change the fortunes for them.
Pune Warriors started the tournament on a high and have lost their way from there. They are number eight in the points table and will be desperate to get a win that has evaded them in past few matches. A win will put Pune at number five and that is a position that they will want to achieve after the end of today’s match.
Title contenders Mumbai Indians are having a tough time in this season. They haven’t played good cricket and despite some huge names in their side they have lost four matches out of the nine. They presently are at number three but the points difference between them and other teams is not much. Couple of bad games and they will be at the bottom.
Let’s have a look at some of the players who can make the difference in today’s encounter.
Sachin Tendulkar: The greatest batsman on the planet hasn’t had a good outing so far. He has played some descent knocks but not a kind of innings that everyone expects him to play. He hasn’t been fluent and the runs that he has scored have come at a low strike rate. MI will want Sachin to find his touch because that can take Mumbai where they want to be.
Dinesh Karthik: He is a very talented batsman but he has been struggling in this season. He has played a couple of cute little innings but he is nowhere near his best. He is a very innovative batsman and scores at a rapid pace. He is a very crucial member in Mumbai’s middle order and is a good finisher as well.
Lasith Malinga: He missed some games and Mumbai struggle in all of them. That shows how important this bowler is for them. He is in the race for the purple cap that he has made his own over the years. Malinga is a deadly customer and is a genuine match-winner. Any team who plays against MI will know how bigger threats this Sri Lankan fast bowler is.
Harbhajan Singh: The captain of MI has a good last match where he picked some wickets. Harbhajan has been bowling well but somehow he is struggling to pick wickets. Harbhajan takes pride in whatever he does and will know that it is his time to get some good wickets in his kitty.
Steven Smith: He has been the best batsman for Pune Warriors and has won them couple of games. Smith hasn’t looked more dangerous before and his stroke play is simply awesome. He has done well in almost all the matches and his strike rate is among the top five batsmen in this year’s IPL.
Manish Pandey: Pandey is considered to be one of the most exciting batsmen in India but he has failed to live up to the expectation this season. He only has one substantial innings against his name and unfortunately that also came in a losing cause. Pandey’s job is to provide solid foundation for his middle-order and he will be looking to do exactly that.
Alfonso Thomas: He is a very experienced cricketer when it comes to T-20 cricket. He is an aggressive bowler and is very intelligent at the death overs. Thomas has played this format in almost all the countries and has bowled in all the conditions. His experience should help the depleted looking Pune attack.
Murali Kartik: A lot depends on this left-armer as the number one spinner for Pune Warriors; Rahul Sharma is having a torrid season and has lost his place in the team. Kartik has been bowling well and has been among the wickets as well.
By Gaurav Jha
Indian Sports News