Mumbai Indians vs Rising Pune Supergiant: Stage set for IPL’s ‘local derby’

Mumbai Indians have lost only one game in the IPL 2017 season and that defeat was inflicted by Rising Pune Supergiant in their tournament opener

ipl 2017 Updated: Apr 23, 2017 17:04 IST
IPL 2017,Rising Pune Supergiant,Mumbai Indians
Rising Pune Supergiant had inflicted Mumbai Indians their only defeat of the IPL 2017 season after a match-winning knock by skipper Steve Smith.(PTI)

Mumbai Indians will be looking to settle scores when they take on the Rising Pune Supergiant in a game billed as the local derby, at the Wankhede Stadium on Monday night. (IPL 2017 FULL COVERAGE)

Mumbai Indians have lost only one game this season and that defeat was inflicted by Rising Pune Supergiant in their tournament opener.

As the teams brace up for the return leg, the stage has been set by Saturday’s exhilarating action involving the two outfits. Mumbai Indians warmed up for the encounter with a thrilling win over Delhi Daredevils, built on the tremendous performance of their bowlers. An equally-sensational effort from Pune Supergiant’s Mahendra Singh Dhoni has added to the excitement around the tie.

READ | IPL 2017: MS Dhoni’s knock impresses ‘rivals’ David Warner, Virender Sehwag

The two Maharashtra sides have had contrasting fortunes since their first game, with MI soaring to great heights with six wins in six, while Supergiant’s campaign floundered. However, the return leg comes at a time when the Steve Smith-led side has also picked up momentum, with two wins in their last two games.

Mumbai Indians, a complete package

Mumbai Indians look like a complete package, an example of which was seen last week. At Indore, when the bowlers conceded a mammoth 198 runs against Kings XI Punjab, the batsmen came to the fore and carried the team through. Against Delhi Daredevils, the batsmen floundered but the bowlers rose to the occasion to snatch a terrific win.

Critical week for Pune

Beginning with the game at the Wankhede, the next seven-day cycle -- in which they play four games -- will be crucial for Pune Supergiant. They will be looking to make the most of the home stretch, as after Mumbai Indians, they play Kolkata Knight Riders, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Gujarat Lions at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium.

It is going to define how their second season ends up. If they do well, they can make up for the early ground lost and be in contention for the playoffs.

Patchy batting

Despite their two wins, problems remain for Supergiant. In batting, there has been limited support for captain Steve Smith up the order. Ajinkya Rahane’s form has been patchy as he hasn’t got going after the first game.

Ben Stokes has tried gamely but has not been able to live up to expectations. In bowling, only Imran Tahir has been a genuine wicket-taking option.

On the other hand, Mumbai Indians will be concerned with the form of captain Rohit Sharma, who strangely has developed an issue against leg-spinners.

Landmark match

Monday’s game is special for the home team -- it is Mumbai Indians’ 50th match at the Wankhede Stadium and falls on their iconic figure, Sachin Tendulkar’s, birthday.

READ | Mumbai Indians still have a long way to go in IPL 2017: Mitchell McClenaghan

Mumbai Indians boast of the most vocal crowd support and the din at the Wankhede Stadium on match days remains unmatched. However, MS Dhoni remains one of the most popular names across the country. As was seen when he played the last warm-up game here at the Brabourne Stadium, his fan following in Mumbai is only next to Sachin Tendulkar’s.

The paying public will have more to cheer for than just backing their local stars.

First Published: Apr 23, 2017 16:57 IST