Pune: Mumbai Indians are inching closer to book a berth in the top four. With eight wins from 12 matches, one more victory will almost guarantee them a place in the play-offs. Pune Warriors' miserable run on the other hand, just does not seem to end. However, they will be keen on spoiling the party by registering an upset win over their neighbours.
Pune have tried everything that there is to break their losing streak, but to no avail. Change in captaincy, alteration in batting order, nothing has seemed to work in their favour. Over dependence on foreign players and lack of contribution from their domestic crop have contributed immensely in their current standing in the team rankings.
Their batting collapse has been a sorry tale throughout the series and it was proved yet again in the game against Kolkata Knight Riders, where the side bundled out for 106 chasing 153 to win. Their loss against KKR was their 11th defeat, eighth in a row.
Barring Aaron Finch and Robin Uthappa, no one has made it big. Yuvraj Singh has only managed 173 runs from 10 games and Steven Smith's absence has made matters worse. The bowling has been wayward and inconsistent.
Mumbai will be eyeing this encounter as a ticket to the play-offs stage. After losing a few matches, under Rohit Sharma they have got their acts together and registered big wins against Chennai Super Kings and KKR. A win will tie them with Rajasthan Royals in the points table, although in all probability with a better run-rate.
Their batting has clicked well in the past few matches. Sachin Tendulkar is coming off a Man-of-the-Match performance in the previous game against Kolkata. Dwayne Smith has been the perfect opening partner for Tendulkar and the middle order, especially Rohit and Dinesh Karthik have managed to change the complexion of the game.
Bowling seems to be Mumbai's main ammunition. Mitchell Johnson seems to have found a new life in his bowling and has been nothing short of phenomenal. The Aussie left-armer has picked up wickets regularly and given away nothing. Spinners Pragyan Ojha and Harbhajan Singh have rediscovered their lost form and have chipped away with wickets at crucial junctures. Lasith Malinga, on the other hand, has been a nightmare for the lower order.
Mumbai in all likelihood, seem the better team to win the derby. However, Pune will try and pull of a miraculous victory in order to delay their progress.
Pune Warrriors India: 1 Aaron Finch (capt), 2 Robin Uthappa, 3 Yuvraj Singh, 4 Udit Birla, 5 Angelo Mathews, 6 Mitchell Marsh, 7 Mahesh Rawat (wk), 8 Wayne Parnell, 9 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 10 Parvez Rasool, 11 Krishnakant Upadhyay
Mumbai Indians: 1 Sachin Tendulkar, 2 Dwayne Smith, 3 Dinesh Karthik (wk), 4 Rohit Sharma (capt), 5 Ambati Rayadu, 6 Kieron Pollard, 7 Harbhajan Singh, 8 Mitchell Johnson, 9 Pragyan Ojha, 10 Abu Nechim Ahmed, 11 Lasith Malinga