Mumbai Indians underscored their title credentials by dispatching champions Chennai Super Kings with easy disdain, in which Harbhajan gave Dhoni a master class in captaincy in the way he handled his bowling resources and especially in his field placements.
MI will next play PW in their second match scheduled to be held at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium, on Friday, April 6, 2012. PW have had their own problems in the lead up to IPL 5, relating to ownership and contractual wrangles with the BCCI and will be keen to get on with the game on the pitch.
Levi led MI’s reply to Chennai’s meagre score of 112 and his quick-fire 50 made things easy for his side. While Sharma lost an opportunity to get some useful batting practice, Rayudu spent some time in the middle. Though Tendulkar retired hurt after being hit on the finger by Bollinger, he should be fit and ready to play on Friday. A possible change could be in the replacement of Franklin who did not impress with the ball and his credentials as an ‘all-rounder’ have taken a hit.
MI will be especially pleased with the way their bowlers stood up to the task, and they were brilliantly supported by their fielders who held on to everything and even caused three run outs to leave CSK tottering. Ojha’s form would have pleased Harbhajan who himself had an indifferent run tith ball conceding 24 runs without taking a wicket. Pollard filled the role of the fifth bowler admirably and ended up being the most successful, with 2/15. Abu Nechim should be lucky to retain his place, though, and either Munaf Patel or RP Singh could get the call, on Friday.
PW have taken a calculated risk by calling on Ganguly to handle the captaincy in the absence of the convalescent Yuvraj who has undergone surgery for a tumour. Ganguly has a good batting squad at his disposal with the likes of Tamim Iqbal, Graeme Smith and Jesse Ryder assisted by local talent in the form of Uthappa, Pandey and Manhas. Angelo Mathew and Mitchell Marsh are currently unavailable and PW could call up Bhuvaneshwar Kumar as the replacement all-rounder.
The frontline bowlers are led by the redoubtable Alonso Thomas who was very successful last year, assisted by Murali Kartik, Ashok Dinda and Ashish Nehra, apart from Rahul Sharma. Ganguly also has back up support in the likes of Shrikant Wagh, Parnell and Kamran Khan.
While Pune Warriors have the talent on paper, they will need to perform to potential if they are to dislodge a Mumbai side who have already tasted blood after decimating Chennai on the latter’s home turf.
MI’s probable eleven: Tendulkar, Levi, Sharma, Rayudu, Karthik, Frankin, Pollard, H Singh, Ojha, Malinga, Patel.
PW’s probable eleven: Ganguly, Smith Ryder, Uthappa, Pandey, Manhas, Mishra, Parnell, Kartik, Thomas, Sharma.
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Jinxatious is the Chief Editor of SportingAttitude.com
An avid writer, on an eclectic range of subjects, he brings to bear editorial experience garnered with a national newspaper in South-East Asia. He also has sportscasting experience, as a cricket commentator, and his passion for sport extends beyond Cricket, to Football, Tennis, and Olympic Sports.