Pune Warriors v Rajasthan Royals, IPL 2013, Pune

Yuvraj return lifts Pune Warriors

The Preview by Siddarth Ravindran

April 10, 2013

Comments: 80 | Text size: A | A

Match facts

Thursday, April 11, 2013
Start time 2000 (1430 GMT)


Marlon Samuels celebrates the wicket of Cameron White with team-mates, Sunrisers Hyderabad v Pune Warriors, IPL, Hyderabad, April 5, 2013
Marlon Samuels will miss out on Thursday's game due to a groin problem © BCCI
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Big Picture

Pune Warriors' middle-order should be the envy of any Twenty20 team. Marlon Samuels, Yuvraj Singh, Ross Taylor and Angelo Mathews form the nucleus of what could be one of the most dangerous batting line-ups around but so far, Warriors have put up the two lowest totals of the season.

When Yuvraj missed out on the game against Kings XI Punjab, they couldn't even manage to reach triple-figures, managing only 99. The good news ahead of the match against Rajasthan Royals is that Yuvraj, who was recovering from a back problem, has been confirmed fit. They still won't be able to field their first-choice middle-order, though, as Samuels has picked up a groin injury. Samuels' absence opens up an overseas player's spot and Warriors have Australia batsman Steven Smith, who was an influential performer for them last season, and England's Luke Wright in their ranks. However, coach Allan Donald said on the eve of the match that big-hitting Australian opener Aaron Finch would come in.*

In contrast, their opponents have got off to a flying start. Royals, as in every season, were written off before the tournament began, but have won two in two, with victories over defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders and another highly rated team, Delhi Daredevils. As usual, low-profile players have played crucial roles, including Trinidad & Tobago allrounder Kevon Cooper and Jharkhand fast bowler Rahul Shukla.

Players to watch

Sreesanth was out of action for more than a year after surgery on his toes and only returned to action in December, having watched a host of young fast bowlers leapfrog him in the queue to the Indian team. The IPL provides him a high-profile platform to remind everyone he's still good enough to turn out for the national side. He's begun well enough, bowling tight spells in the opening matches, and even showed off one of his typically exuberant celebrations.

Robin Uthappa is one of Sreesanth's best friends in cricket, with the pair even launching a cricket homestay together. Like Sreesanth, Uthappa too has fallen out of the national reckoning, and his failings in the IPL have not helped his cause. Two years ago, Warriors splashed out serious money to build the franchise around Uthappa and Yuvraj but Uthappa hasn't been the match-winner the franchise expected him to be, yet.

Stats and trivia

  • Warriors' Manish Pandey has the most number of ducks in the IPL - eight, an wanted record he shares with Amit Mishra
  • Royals' Samuel Badree has the best economy-rate among all bowlers in Twenty20s, having conceded only 4.90 runs an over in his career

Quotes

"Manish Pandey and Robin Uthappa are attacking batsmen, but they seem to have gone into a shell during the Powerplay overs."
Warriors coach Allan Donald knows the side needs to get better starts

*03.20GMT, April 11: The preview was updated after pre-match press conference quotes came in

Siddarth Ravindran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Narbavi on (April 11, 2013, 14:41 GMT)

@ Baseball-Sucks: And he is gone, first ball!! :D

Posted by testcricket_lover on (April 11, 2013, 14:34 GMT)

Kusal Perera out !!!!!!!!!!! :P........HAHAHA

Posted by Baseball-Sucks on (April 11, 2013, 14:13 GMT)

Kusal Perera in !!!!!!!!!!! :P

Posted by blitzNM on (April 11, 2013, 13:42 GMT)

Luke Wright uthapa Samuels (for his bowling) Yuvraj Mathews (bcoz he is captain otherwise taylor) Nayar M. Marsh Parvez Rasool & Bhuvi, R. Sharma, dinda

Posted by Maxyboy_123 on (April 11, 2013, 13:33 GMT)

I would feel a bit aggrieved if I was Luke Wright. I'm totally biased being English, but his T20 form has been brilliant for the past year. I would love to support a team that included someone English!

Posted by   on (April 11, 2013, 13:15 GMT)

robin manish luke yuvi steaven angelo nayar bhuvi rahul parvej richardson they should play like this to win

Posted by Narbavi on (April 11, 2013, 12:57 GMT)

@Huzsain Faiz: Check again its 14 off 12 despite being dropped once by Botha and if its a shame that kusal is in the bench then it will be even a bigger shame if the world t20 player of the tournament is made to sit on the bench, Is he in a poor form in t20's? He was in poor form only in tests, not in t20's!!

Posted by   on (April 11, 2013, 12:42 GMT)

guys where is steven smith he is player of year for punewarriors last year n keep manish out in for any local talent

Posted by   on (April 11, 2013, 12:16 GMT)

What's wrong with them???? Why aren't they picking Parvez Rasool????

Posted by   on (April 11, 2013, 11:49 GMT)

@Narbavi: Kusal played his 1st ever Ipl game and scored 15off 11 balls not 14 off 12. Watson scored 10 off 5 in his match. so in that case he should be dropped after that game. Kusal looked promising and is in brilliant form, shame he's dropped after just one game. And that too for a player who has been in abysmal form lately but being played just for namesake

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