Monday will witness the second installment in ‘The Maharashtra Derby’ for the 2017 edition of the Indian Premier League between the Mumbai Indians and the Rising Pune Supergiant, to be played at the Wankhede Stadium.
Both teams are coming into the game on the back of wins at home. The former got the better off the Delhi Daredevils in a low-scoring affair, with Mitchell McClenaghan leading the way with the ball while the latter secured a thrilling last-ball win against the Sunrisers Hyderabad, thanks to an MS Dhoni special, who rolled back the years on Saturday.
Heading into the game, the main question mark for the hosts will be the fitness of Lasith Malinga, who missed the last game for the side while it will be interesting to see if Pune bring back Imran Tahir into the side considering he had an excellent outing in the previous derby.
But a lot of water has flown under the bridge since that game. That loss remains Mumbai’s only one of the season so far as they seem to have got on to a roll since then. 6 wins in 7 matches means that they have almost booked their place in the final four, barring a serious windfall.
What will worry them though is the form of Rohit Sharma, who has found a weakness to leg-spin in this competition so far and will look to get a big score at home on Monday.
For Pune, Steve Smith will once again be key and he will be happy to be heading into the game that he has an in-form Dhoni in the middle order to shoulder the responsibilities. Manoj Tiwary has been the surprise package for the Supergiant, playing some useful cameos down the order.
The uncapped batsman for both teams have also been very impressive- Nitish Rana has been Mumbai’s standout performer while Rahul Tripathi from Pune has given the team the start they need at the top.
If MI bat 1st: 160+
Despite Rohit’s poor form, Mumbai will have enough firepower to get to a competitive score. Jos Buttler showed what he was capable of in the game against the Kings XI Punjab, while the Pandya brothers along with Kieron Pollard have provided the much-needed balance down the order.
In RPS bats 1st: 150+
The batting will revolve around Steve Smith, who will hope Ajinkya Rahane has a good outing. On one hand, Tripathi has been blazing away at one end, his opening partner has struggled for runs and will hope to do well in what is a return to home for him.
Prediction: Right now, the Mumbai Indians just seem to the most in-form team. The balance of the side seems the best out of the eight teams and they will begin as favourites. However, in the last meeting between the two sides at this venue, it was the visitors, who achieved a comfortable win.