Recharged Warriors run into sizzling Mumbai
Match factsSaturday, April 13, 2013
Start time 1600 (1030 GMT)
Big PictureOne of the biggest mysteries of the IPL is how did Pune Warriors manage to lose 11 games on the trot with such an impressive squad. Probably on par in mysteriousness is how Mumbai Indians have not been able to win a single IPL title with some of the biggest names on their rosters, both playing and non-playing. While Mumbai Indians have made it to the knockouts for the previous three seasons before stumbling, Warriors' string of defeats - an IPL record - had become self-perpetuating in a way.
Match after match, their top order would look like it would rather be somewhere else. There was no intent, there was no attempt to take on the opposition. There was a strange hesitation, as if they were waiting for someone else to take charge, and no one was actually doing it. It took a frank call from their captain Angelo Mathews to evaluate their "intent and attitude", and an injury to Marlon Samuels, to finally wake up the sleeping Warriors.
Aaron Finch came in to partner Robin Uthappa at the top of the order. It wasn't just the fact that the pair added 58 inside five overs against Rajasthan Royals to get rid of the losing streak. It was the way they went about doing it that showed Warriors were serious about discarding their diffidence.
Warriors are up against a side which, in its previous game against Delhi Daredevils, recovered from 1 for 2 to make 209 for 5. The first two wickets were those of Ricky Ponting and Sachin Tendulkar. Dinesh Karthik and Rohit Sharma's response was to blitz 132 in 13 overs. It shows what this Mumbai Indians side is capable of doing.
Players to watchThe opening partnership has been a constant headache for Mumbai Indians for a couple of seasons. The one between Ponting and Tendulkar began with much expectation but has had a couple of failures. While a chance to see the two legends walk out together is enough to fill the ground, how many games will Ponting give himself before dropping down the order, given Mumbai Indians were so keen to chop and change previous season?
The Robin Uthappa of old was on display against Royals, swatting length deliveries over long on, swinging powerfully over deep square leg and also purposefully punching through the off side. He made more than 400 runs in IPL 2012, but the strike-rate of 118 mirrored the hesitation that marked Warriors' approach. Mathews would want more of the intent Uthappa displayed against Sreesanth.
Stats and trivia
- Mumbai Indians won their previous meeting with Warriors by one run, only the fourth-such result in the IPL
- Sachin Tendulkar has taken the most catches by a non-wicketkeeper in an IPL game - four
Quotes"We have a good side and it takes a while to gel, since we have a new captain, and a lot has changed for us this year - Angelo is the captain, Yuvi Paaji is back and Ross Taylor's in the side."
Pune Warriors' Rahul Sharma
"I do not get worried too much with a few failures. This is a format where you need a little bit of time to get into the groove and then score freely. This is my style of playing, this is the way I play and I am glad that I have got some runs."
Mumbai Indians' Rohit Sharma
Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo