The IPL 10 got off to a rollicking start yesterday, when Sunrisers Hyderabad, riding on a blistering knock by Yuvraj Singh (62 off 27 balls) and contributions from Moises Henriques and Shikhar Dhawan, beat the injury-affected Royal Challengers Bangalore by 35 runs.
In what could be as exciting a game as the opener, the Rising Pune Supergiants (RPS) host the two-time champions Mumbai Indians (MI) in the second game of the league. Following the plan, the organisers will host a spectacular opening ceremony before the game kicks off.
To talk about the previous encounters, RPS and MI have faced each other two times. While Rohit Sharma drove Mumbai to victory in one game, another one of India’s batting stalwarts, Ajinkya Rahane, took Pune over the line with a brilliant knock. The head-to-head tally, thus, stands at 1-1 and we are sure of a mouth-watering clash ahead of us.
A lot has changed, though, since the last time the two played against each other. The leadership, for example, has been shifted to Steven Smith after Sanjeev Goenka’s shock announcement last month that Mahendra Singh Dhoni would no more lead the RPS and that Steven would take over during this IPL. This stirred up a controversy of sorts and earned Goenka and his franchise the ire of MSD fans, even as MSD will feature for the first-time ever as a non-captain in the IPL. It’ll be interesting to see how Steven Smith handles the Team. He has captained Australia, but T20 is a format the Australian Captain, otherwise a top-bracket batsman, has been unable to befriend and that might affect him while he leads an IPL Team for the first ever time. Previous year’s dubious overall record is yet another concern for them.
While the captaincy-shift might pose a few problems, at least in the earlier stages of the tournament, the absence of R.Ashwin, who has already been ruled out of the tournament owing to sports hernia, will also hurt the Pune-based franchise. Mumbai Indians, on the other hand, has a totally balanced side, with almost every player from their squad available to serve. The only concern is the lack of Cricket for Rohit Sharma, who has been nursing an injury since the last six months and Harbhajan Singh, who hasn’t played a lot of Cricket after he lost his place in the National side.
The Rising Pune Supergiants will bank heavily on MSD, Steven Smith, Ajinkya Rahane, Faf Du Plessis and the South African leggie Imran Tahir, to deliver the goods and try and beat Mumbai Indians, probably the most balanced side in the Indian Premier League. Such is the availability of players for Mumbai, that Rohit Sharma will be in a dilemma as far as selecting the best XI is concerned.
The presence of some of the best T20 Cricketers in the World in either of the sides makes this a contest to watch out for!