Pune, Apr 13: Welcome to another day of action at the Indian T20 League. Today is the day of derbies, Mumbai will take on Pune in the first match of the day. Mumbai are riding high with two convincing wins while Pune shed off their disastrous 11 match losing streak with a fine win over Rajasthan to log in their first points of the tournament. All to play for then.
Mumbai have won the toss and elected to bat
Mathews: Not very worried about losing the toss. They are a very good side, we need to play at our best. We are playing the same XI once again. Always a great feeling to have points on the board. We were vey aggressive with our batting the other day. The wicket looks very good, there is a bit of grass covering on it.
Ponting: We will have a bat first. Hopefully, we can give a good start at the top of the order and give the other guys a platform to build on. We are unchanged from the previous game. Last game was our best game of the tournament so far, we are working very well as a group. Over 10,000 children are viewing the game today, as part of the education foundation of Mrs. Ambani. Looks like a good batting track and we will look to make the most of it.
Yuvraj: 'I am feeling good by the day, and things are getting better. It was nice to spend some time with the bat in the middle in the last match. Today is a big game, Mumbai are a very tough opponent. Always have great memories of this stadium, the 2011 World Cup comes to the mind. The crowd love me over here. We now have more self belief in the team after our win in the last game, we are more confident and aggressive as a team.'
Pune (Playing XI): Robin Uthappa(w), Aaron Finch, Ross Taylor, Yuvraj Singh, Angelo Mathews(c), Tirumalsetti Suman, Abhishek Nayar, Mitchell Marsh, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Rahul Sharma, Ashok Dinda
Mumbai (Playing XI): Ricky Ponting(c), Sachin Tendulkar, Dinesh Karthik(w), Rohit Sharma, Ambati Rayudu, Kieron Pollard, Harbhajan Singh, Rishi Dhawan, Mitchell Johnson, Pragyan Ojha, Lasith Malinga
Two teams, both belonging to the same state, set stage for the great 'Maharashtra Derby' on Saturday evening. Mumbai and Pune have always been rivals in terms of traditional view-points - Whether a typical 'marathi maanoos' is a Mumbaikar or a Punekar? Whether Mumbai is the more cultured city or does Pune symbolize tradition in its' purest form? Whether Mumbai has a better marathi-speaking community or does Pune have a perfect command over the language? Irrespective of the answers to the above questions, both teams will be looking forward to stamp their authority in this year's Indian T20 League.
Team News: Bolstered with the return of Lasith Malinga, Mumbai are all set for an exciting contest. They have clicked as a unit in this tournament displaying explosive batting, methodical bowling and decent fielding. Ponting's calm and poised captaincy has worked wonders for them and he along with Sachin will be hoping to get some runs at the top, which has been their only concern in the tournament so far.
In form player: Dinesh Karthik - Karthik has been playing some wonderful cricket in the last few games and has been responsible in taking Mumbai home. He scored a fighting 60 against Bangalore in the first match, followed by a gritty 37 against Chennai. In the last game, he fell just 15 runs short of a hundred but not before single-handedly lifting Mumbai's score from 1 to 133 after they had lost two quick wickets.
Team form: Won against Delhi by 44 runs.
Probable 4 foreigners: Ricky Ponting, Lasith Malinga, Keiron Pollard, Mitchell Johnson
Hit or Miss?
Hit: Rohit Sharma - With poor past performances and on the verge of being dropped, Rohit bounced back beautifully to hit an unbeaten 74 against Delhi in the last game. Initially playing as a second-fiddle to Karthik, Rohit began building his innings systematically. After Karthik's wicket, he accelerated his pace of scoring and propelled Mumbai to a mammoth total of 209.
Miss: Sachin Tendulkar - Tendulkar did provide Mumbai a decent start in their first game. However, he has failed miserably in the following matches - getting a golden duck in the second one and scoring only one run in the second. Hopefully, Sachin along with fellow opener Ponting will strive to provide Mumbai a good start in the next game so that the burden of scoring runs does not lie solely on the shoulders of the middle-order.
Team news: The best Pune performances have majorly come from the bowling department and they will look to play to their strengths on Saturday to cause an upset in this epic Maharashtra battle. With the batsmen joining the party from the last game, a confident Pune side will be desperate to tilt Mumbai's apple-cart. Pune will continue to miss the services of Marlon Sameuls who is out with a groin injury.
In form player: Robin Uthappa - Uthappa has been in a decent form in all Pune games, providing them a good start on all occasions. Unfortunately, he has not been supported well by his fellow openers. That trend, however, changed when Aaron Finch teamed up with Uthappa in the last match and got them off to a flying start. Uthappa, on the other hand, will be looking forward to build up his innings and convert his decent start into a big score.
Team form: Won against Rajasthan by 7 wickets
Probable 4 foreigners: Angelo Mathews, Aaron Finch, Ross Taylor, Mitchell Marsh
Hit or Miss?
Hit: Aaron Finch - Pune batting came of age in the previous match proving that an aggressive approach was just as necessary along with a methodical bowling performance to register a convincing win. Aaron Finch provided the fireworks hitting a remarkable 64 off 53 balls which included six fours and three sixes. With Uthappa's support, Finch will go after Mumbai's bowling with all his might and make a big score.
Miss: Mitchell Marsh - Marsh has been trying desperately to live up to his 'all-rounder' tag but has failed so far. He has looked lackluster with the bat managing to accumulate only 22 runs till now. Also, he has not been able to do anything spectacular with the ball either. If this continues, there is a possibility that he may be benched for the next match in favour of a more reliable player.
Head to Head: Mumbai - 3 Pune - 1
Leg-spinner Rahul Sharma talks about Pune's approach, 'We are hoping to bowl well as a team between the 16th and 20th overs, since that is important. However, we bowled well in all three matches, but our batting had not clicked until today. So, if we do well in that area, it will be good.'
CB's pick: Mumbai
Already going strong and having won two out of their three matches, Mumbai will be favourites to trounce Pune and secure top spot in the points table.