The first day of the IPL was staggering – An incredible opening ceremony, a mouth-watering contest, a stunning knock of 62 off 27 balls by one of India’s limited over legends, towering sixes, blistering boundaries, brilliance in field and whatnot! Day two opens in Pune, at the Maharashtra Cricket Association’s Stadium where the Rising Pune Supergiants host the Mumbai Indians in what promises to be a thrilling contest. We have already spoken about how the two teams shape up in our Preview of the game. In this piece, we will extensively deal with five things either of the two teams need to do to overpower the other one –
Five things Mumbai needs to do to get past the RPS :
1. Get Steven Smith early :
While the brilliant Australian Captain hasn’t tasted notable success in T20, he can be, with his unconventional but unblemished technique, a threat in any format of the game, once he gets going.
2. Get Ajinkya Rahane and Faf Du Plessis early:
Ajinkya Rahane was the nemesis when RPS beat the MI in their last encounter. Rahane’s spotless technique and ability to hit boundaries at will make him a dangerous customer. Faf Du Plessis, the South African veteran, can turn any game on its head with his batting prowess and will be one of the batsmen to watch out for. When he gets going, he never gives an opportunity to his opponents.
3. Don’t let MSD settle down:
When Mahendra Singh Dhoni gets going, boundaries become irrelevant as his big-hitting prowess takes over. His technique is unconventional but he probably has the strongest bottom-hand in the World and can hit any delivery out of the ground. He recently rolled back the years by scoring a magnificent hundred against England. It’ll be imperative for the MI to not let MSD get into the groove because if he does, he can make an impact in as many as two overs.
4. Try and score 190+ if they get to bat first:
If the Mumbai Indians get to bat first, they must try and score at least 190. The Pune wicket has traditionally been on the slower side, but if the recent ODI against England is anything to go by, we won’t be surprised if the curators dish out a belter. All of Smith, Du Plessis, Rahane and Dhoni takes time to settle down and a target of 190+ can quickly grow on them.
5. Target Ben Stokes right from the beginning:
Not letting Ben Stokes settle down into a rhythm, either with the bat or the ball, is something Mumbai Indians must look after.
Five things Rising Supergiants Pune must do to get the better of MI –
1. Tackle Rohit Sharma and Parthiv Patel:
While Parthiv Patel has this uncanny ability to find gaps off almost every ball during the power play, Rohit Sharma, with his undefiled technique, seems to have all the time in the world to have a go at the ball. If the two get going, they can drive Pune out of equation very early in the game. It’s paramount that Pune breaks the opening pair as soon as possible and unsettle the Mumbai Indians.
2. Score off Bumrah :
Jaspreet Bumrah, over the last couple of seasons, has developed into one of the best T20 bowlers. He can bowl terrific yorkers and block-holes at will, especially at the death. His awkward bowling style adds to his prowess. It’s extremely important for Pune to break the shackles against Bumrah early in the innings and not let him settle into a rhythm.
3. Get Kieron Pollard early:
Once Kieron Pollard is off to a start, even his mishits fly over the forbidden rope. Getting Kieron Pollard early in the innings will be extremely important. He hasn’t been in the greatest of forms lately, but with players like him, it hardly matters and it’s just a matter of few deliveries.
4. Watch out for Hardik Pandya:
Hardik Pandya can quietly cause damage with the ball from one end, and finish games with aplomb with the bat. It’ll be in the best interests of Pune to keep a tab on Pandya as the game progresses.
5. Harbhajan Singh, the legend:
Yet again, the pugnacious former India off-spinner can spin a web and threaten to take the game away from the hosts. With the bat, he can deal lusty blows and cause late damage. Pune must capitalise on the fact that Bhajji hasn’t played too much of Cricket over the last year and try and force him into submission early in the game.