India’s home season has come to an end and all attention is on the 10th season of the Indian Premier League. It’s time for the 2nd game, it’s the Maharashtrian Derby – Rising Pune Supergiant v Mumbai Indians – Suneer Chowdhary and Shruti Chopra are all set to preview, analyse and predict this one. Read excerpts of their conversation or have a listen to their conversation.
Rising Pune Supergiant first and it’s their second and last IPL season and after that shoddy display they would want to end their run in the IPL on a high?
What’s in a name, they say but if Pune can overturn their 2016 showing, it could all be down to their name – dropping that s off the Supergiants. Although, I must admit when I read one of those headlines that Pune have decided to change their name, I almost thought they had gotten rid of the Rising and the Supergiants bit in totality.
Jokes aside, Pune looked like they were rattled by their performance last season when they finished seventh. Made a sea of changes going into this season – and it started even before the early watchers had settled down, with the trade of Mayank Agrawal from Delhi. Faf du Plessis did a good job of it when he was around but after he left, the Supergiants had their woes at the top.
And speaking of changes, there was that change in captaincy as well…
To drop MS Dhoni was a surprise, not because it was a bad move but because of the enormity of the decision itself. Players like Sachin Tendulkar, MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli don’t get dropped, not in a country where their following dictates the fortunes of a side – they are given the option of stepping down, which is why when the Supergiants, or Supergiant as they are called now, decided to axe Dhoni from the role, it came across as a major surprise.
Then they made that slight alteration in their name, shelled out a whopping Rs. 14.5 crore to bring in Ben Stokes and later decided to get Imran Tahir as a replacement for Mitchell Marsh when they already have a leggie in Adam Zampa in the line-up. Gives me an impression of a management on a hot tin roof.
And in this first game, what will be the one thing you would be looking forward to watch from the Pune side?
Steven Smith comes into the tournament with the kind of form that easily makes him the world’s best batsman, but one must quickly juxtapose that with his T20 record – he averages less than 30 in Twenty20 cricket and has a strike-rate of 126, not the kind of figures you would associate with the world’s best. And he is coming off a long Aussie summer as well, which was followed by a mentally and physically-sapping Test series against India. Will be having a close look at how he goes in this tournament.
Two-time IPL champions, the Mumbai Indians come into their opener with a surprising cloud of slow starts under their belts over the past three seasons. Tough to explain that?
Yep, for a team that has at their disposal the kind of riches they have, something bizarre about the Mumbai Indians which makes them slow starters and but the good news is it’s getting better – they lost all of their first five games in the 2014 season, won one in 2015 and last year they managed to win two of the first five matches. Because on paper, they have a very well-balanced side and one that goes into the tournament as second-favourites according to the bookmakers behind the Royal Challengers Bangalore.
What do you make of the Mumbai Indians squad. Doesn’t look like they like to make major changes to their line-up and that should help in a long-run tournament like this.
It should and that’s also why they have a decent record over the past few seasons…that backing of players by the management leads to a cohesive unit. But I must quickly add here, that while they are not quite the Royal Challengers Bangalore or the Delhi Daredevils in terms of the injury issues those teams are facing, the lack of cricket for their top players could be a concern going into the opener – especially when, historically, their starts to the competition are that slow.
Yes Suneer, Rohit Sharma recently did say he was almost worried his injury might not heal but things look to have settled down…
Rohit Sharma has fully recovered from his injury that, in his words, seemed to have scared him no ends, but he hasn’t played too much cricket recently. But it’s not Rohit alone, Mitchell Johnson has retired from all cricket except domestic T20 and he last featured in the BBL, Lasith Malinga is slowly coming off his own fitness woes – and then there are form issues for the likes of Jos Buttler and Kieron Pollard, both of whom could be expected to play a key role in the side. In fact, Pollard is in a dire need to fire or run the risk of losing his place…
So are you trying to say that Mumbai Indians have very little chance going into this game?
Dare I say that Shruti, but if you are asking me for my prediction, I will defer to you – why don’t you go first? What do your cards say?
According to the cards, the Rising Pune Supergiant will probably not get their playing combinations right whereas the Mumbai Indians may just feel more at home, plus they appear to be more willing to take risks, which is why it’s Tarot Advantage: Mumbai Indians.
Who are you going with Suneer?
Pune has a slight edge for me.