Pune Warriors v Kings XI Punjab, IPL 2011, 5th match April 9, 2011

Yuvraj the focus in Pune's debut


Match facts

Sunday, April 10
Start time 2000 (1430 GMT)

Big picture

The biggest talking point going into this match will be Yuvraj Singh. The "icon" player for Kings XI Punjab in the earlier seasons, their local hero, will now be leading the opposition. And this, after being removed as captain of Punjab in the second season. His forgettable 2010, when he lost his spot in the national team in both Tests and one-dayers, also included a miserable IPL season. All that changed at the World Cup: four Man-of-the-Match awards, capped off with the Man-of-the-Tournament honour tells the story. Pune will hope he can bring that form to the IPL, and inspire a young side.

Punjab, meanwhile, have jettisoned one overseas wicketkeeper-batsman as captain, and brought in another - Adam Gilchrist. Two more of their most important players are also Australians - the allrounder David Hussey, and opener Shaun Marsh. The squad is pretty thin on Indian talent, with the highest profile members being Praveen Kumar, Piyush Chawla and Dinesh Karthik, none of whom are bonafide matchwinners. In a tournament where domestic talent has been pivotal to success, Gilchrist and Co have a tough task on their hands.

Team talk

Pune are missing several key personnel: allrounder Angelo Mathews is likely to miss the entire season with a leg injury that forced him out of the World Cup final; another player who couldn't play the World Cup final due to injury is Ashish Nehra, whose finger injury will keep him out of the first few matches of the IPL; and opener Manish Pandey has been banned for four matches after breaching the rules related to the signing of uncapped players.

Punjab may take a few matches to get their combination working, since some experimentation will have to be done in arriving at the best XI from a squad lacking big names who pick themselves. The only player they have from the World Cup-winning Indian squad is legspinner Piyush Chawla, who was a peripheral player in the campaign.

In the spotlight

Graeme Smith has had a torrid time with the bat over the past few months, but as one of the few players with plenty of experience in the squad, he will need to step up over the season.

Shane Warne eased back into cricket with a teasing spell of legspin bowling against Deccan Chargers on Saturday. Can Adam Gilchrist make a similarly seamless return after a year away from the game?

Prime numbers

  • Yuvraj Singh had no hundreds or half-centuries in Punjab's disastrous 2010 season
  • Robin Uthappa maintained an astonishing strike-rate of 171.55 in the previous season
  • Pune are the most expensive frachise in the tournament, and have the largest squad

The chatter

"We don't have icon players but we also don't need icons. We have got a good bright team that has the right mix of experienced as well as new players." Adam Gilchrist doesn't think the loss of local boy Yuvraj Singh will affect the team

Siddarth Ravindran is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on April 10, 2011, 14:25 GMT

    PUNE Yuvraj Singh ,Nehra , Parnell, Graeme Smith have a good day. Kings XI Punjab :-Adam Gilchrisht , Piyush Chawla ,Ryan Harris, David Hussey

    Seems Yuvraj Singh has a very good day so chances of his team Pune Warriors prevailing are more

  • akshay on April 10, 2011, 14:13 GMT

    Uttappa is the key player... Its better for Gilli to keep 2-3 fielders outside the field (preferably one guy outside the stadium) to get the ball which are hit for sixers...

  • sumant on April 10, 2011, 14:11 GMT

    off course.......pune will win this match........yuvi is the best.......best luck pune

  • Ashirvadh on April 10, 2011, 13:56 GMT

    i think the reason why is because today is a double header with Mumbia versing dehli before this match.

  • Dummy4 on April 10, 2011, 13:36 GMT

    The new Sahara's stadium in Pune is under construction. I don't know what's with the old stadium....must be hosting a wedding reception is my best guess.

  • saurabh on April 10, 2011, 12:49 GMT

    No idea if we already had mumbai then why Bihar Gujrat jharkhand UP MP or any state not invited to make team...why pune?

  • Arnav on April 10, 2011, 10:20 GMT

    Why r they playing in Mumbai, Does Pune doesn't have any cricket ground ?

  • Abhyuday on April 10, 2011, 10:19 GMT


  • Devinda on April 10, 2011, 10:06 GMT

    if they were planing on playin mathews in their original eleven i think they'd replace him with mitchell marsh and i'd also like to see tim paine ahead of maybe mithun manhas this way u can get some overs out of uthappa as well.

  • ashok on April 10, 2011, 9:48 GMT

    what ever happens... who ever joins any team... CSK will win it again...

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