The Indian Premier League’s second day will see a riveting clash as Steven Smith’s Rising Pune Supergiant take on the Rohit Sharma-led Mumbai Indians at home on Thursday.
The tenth season of the T20 extravaganza IPL kicked off on Wednesday, with Sunrisers Hyderabad beating Royal Challengers Bangalore in the opening match.
Thursday’s match will mark the first time in the history of the tournament that former India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni will not be playing as captain – so it will be good to watch him play freely.
Dhoni will turn out for Rising Pune Supergiant, who made their debut under his captaincy in the last edition. The team could manage to win only five matches, but hope to make a mark this time around with Smith taking over the reins.
The Pune franchise will be banking heavily on Ajinkya Rahane, who scored 480 runs at an average of 43.63 in the last edition, to come good with the bat again. Besides, not just Pune’s supporters but all IPL fans are waiting to see how the costliest player of season 10, Ben Stokes, performs in the tournament.
Rising Pune Supergiant will, however, miss their star spinner R Ashwin, who has been ruled out due to a groin injury.
With Mumbai Indians boasting a strong batting line-up, Pune pacer Ashok Dinda has a great opportunity to prove his worth and also get back into the Indian side. The Bengal bowler has been out of the national team for over six years now.
Mumbai Indians are the only team in the IPL who are injury-free at present, allowing them to play their best eleven.
While Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit Sharma's form at the top will be important, Kieron Pollard and Jos Buttler's big hits, and veteran spinner Harbhajan Singh's craft will decide how the team fares in the match.
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(With inputs from PTI)