Stumbling stars collide
Match factsTuesday, April 9, 2013
Start time 2000 (1430 GMT)
The last time Ricky Ponting played at Wankhede Stadium, he was leading Australia in a one-dayer against India. There was no IPL yet. Ponting made a half-century, and one can imagine the kind of reception he must have got from the Mumbai crowd, which has a ready ability to heckle visiting teams and captains. More than five years later, when Ponting walks out to the toss on Tuesday night, you can be sure there'll be nothing hostile about the crowd's behaviour towards the Mumbai Indians captain. It'll be the franchise's first home game of the season, and Wankhede will know, and respect, what it is witnessing when Ponting and Sachin Tendulkar walk out together.
Not only will Mumbai be backed by the screaming hordes, they will also be lifted by the presence of their key bowler, Lasith Malinga, who is likely to be fit for his first match this season. Malinga should come in for one of Mitchell Johnson or Dwayne Smith.
Mumbai had a batting failure against Chennai Super Kings, and were hauled back from the edge of defeat by an acrobatic catch from Kieron Pollard, who had bailed them out with an unbeaten fifty earlier in the game.
Till the penultimate over against Rajasthan Royals, Delhi Daredevils were winning the game easily, David Warner having guided the chase sensibly. Then Warner was run out, and the rest choked. Daredevils have lost both matches so far, and will be hoping Virender Sehwag has recovered enough from his back troubles to play. Daredevils will also welcome back last season's highest wicket-taker, Morne Morkel, and the feisty Roelof van der Merwe, who will join the squad after playing in South Africa's domestic T20 final.
Players to watch
Sachin Tendulkar has received many shocking lbw decisions over his career. The one he got against Chennai Super Kings wasn't one of them, still, his reaction was about as livid as you'll ever see Tendulkar on the field. It is surprising the match referee did not have anything to say. That is a different matter, but Tendulkar's disgust showed his desperation to make runs. Has the presence of another legend at the other end made him even more determined?
Morne Morkel had 25 wickets last IPL season at just over seven runs an over. Indications are he will play, and if he does, the tall fast bowler should enjoy the bounce the Wankhede generally offers. Mumbai have had batting stutters in both matches so far, and facing Morkel will be a testing prospect.
Stats and trivia
- Last year at Wankhede, Mumbai Indians were shot out for 92, with the Daredevils quick bowlers picking up seven wickets.
- Kieron Pollard is eight short of 3500 T20 runs
"T20 is a game of improvisation but you have to strike a balance between improvising and sticking to your own style. I want to balance it out even more so that it does not get too much one-sided."
Daredevils batsman Unmukt Chand
Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo