Mumbai look to dominate

Pune hoping to snap losing streak

Out of contention for a play-off spot, Pune Warriors’ wretched run is unlikely to snap anytime soon as they would be up against the formidable Mumbai Indians in their next IPL match here on Saturday.

Similar to their performance last year when they lost nine matches on the trot, Pune suffered their eighth straight loss against Kolkata Knight Riders in their previous game on Thursday, when they were beaten by 46 runs.

It would again be a daunting task for Aaron Finch’s boys against state rivals Mumbai, who would look to close-in on a play-off berth. Languishing at the bottom of the table, Pune have won just two of their 13 games, while Mumbai are third in the league table with eight wins in 12 matches.

The Warriors have been woefully out of sorts in all departments of the game. Having restricted holders Kolkata to 152, Pune failed to chase down the target and managed to score just 106.

Only opener Robin Uthappa (31) and all-rounder Angelo Matthews (40) got to double digit figures.

The batting is yet to fire in unison and only the openers have scored some runs at the top. Barring opener Finch’s three half-centuries and Uthappa’s couple of half-centuries this season, no other Pune batsman, which also includes the likes of Yuvraj Singh, has scored a fifty so far.

Yuvraj has managed just 172 runs from his 10 games, while dangerous batsman Steve Smith has returned to Australia due to a back injury.

Bowling also remains a big concern for Pune, especially at death as most of their bowlers have leaked runs. The Rohit Sharma-led Mumbai, on the other hand, are high on confidence after defeating table-toppers Chennai Super Kings (60 runs) and defending champions Kolkata (65 runs) in their last two games. Mumbai’s batting, however, has not exploded so far, with senior batsman Sachin Tendulkar failing to convert his starts into big scores.

The bowling attack is formidable with Aussie pacer Mitchell Johnson (17 wickets) providing early breakthroughs and he is well supported by Lasith Malinga. The duo has been complemented well by Indian spinners Harbhajan Singh (16 wickets) and Pragyan Ojha (14 wickets).

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