Can Pune kickstart recovery?
Match factsTuesday, May 1, Cuttack
Start time 1600 (1030 GMT)
Pune Warriors' previous match was a home game against Deccan Chargers which they lost giving Chargers their first win. Losing points to bottom-placed Chargers will put pressure on Warriors as the race to finish in the top four gets tighter. After their win in Delhi, Warriors were third from the top; now, they are third from the bottom.
Chargers' chances in the tournament are diminishing fast and a top-four finish is highly unlikely as apart from Dale Steyn, there haven't been enough quality performances. Ironically, their only win came when Steyn was rested.
Warriors will be boosted by the inclusion of Michael Clarke who is making his first appearance in the IPL. If he is included in the XI, it will be interesting to see who he replaces. Clarke will bring further stability to the batting line-up. Although Sourav Ganguly will have to think about where to slot him in the order. Further, if Clarke plays, will Ganguly drop himself down the order?
Jesse Ryder and Steven Smith have been the most aggressive for Warriors, but in some games, Smith's impact was reduced due to him batting low in the order.
Chargers have come up with two surprising selection moves in the last two games. While Steyn was rested in Pune, Kumar Sangakkara sat out in Mumbai. In Cuttack, where the pitch should be completely different from the the green one in Mumbai, there might be another surprise from the Chargers camp.
(completed games, most recent first)
Deccan Chargers: LWLLL
Pune Warriors: LLWLL
Players to watchRobin Uthappa is the leading run scorer for Pune Warriors this season. However, his strike rate of 117.72 is much lower than previous seasons. He has only hit seven sixes in the season, but with two important points to be had, Uthappa might rise to the occasion with big shots.
For a batman of the class of JP Duminy, he should be spending maximum time in the middle. Out of the five innings he has played for Chargers, he has remained unbeaten in four. He showed glimpses of his ability in the match against Rajasthan Royals. A potential matchwinner, Duminy contributes with this handy offspin and sharp fielding as well.
Stats and trivia
- Robin Uthappa has played 68 IPL games, only four less than S Badrinath and Suresh Raina's tally of 72.
- Manish Pandey and Robin Uthappa's 145-run unbeaten partnership against Delhi Daredevils is the highest this season.
Quotes"It was unusual to change the captain, isn't it? That's the way it happened.."
Cameron White on Kumar Sangakkara's exclusion in the last game
"It seems like he's doing a really good job as captain-coach over there, I've spoken to a couple of the boys and they seem to be really happy about how things are. So, yeah, for me it's an eye-opener."
Michael Clarke is impressed with Sourav Ganguly's leadership
Devashish Fuloria is a sub-editor with ESPNcricinfo© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.