Rising Pune Supergiants have been one of the weakest teams in IPL 2016, losing five out of their seven matches so far. If MS Dhoni's team are to have any chance of qualifying for the playoffs, they need to step up their game, and play consistent cricket hereon, as they prepare to face Mumbai Indians at the MCA Stadium on Sunday.
Mumbai Indians did not start the competition well, but have played some good cricket in their last two matches, winning against Kings XI Punjab and Kolkata Knight Riders.
With back-to-back wins under their belt, Mumbai Indians are not expected to make any changes to their winning combination. With Rohit Sharma and Kieron Pollard firing with the bat, Mumbai Indians look a strong team.
Ambati Rayudu has been their best batsman in IPL 2016, scoring runs in all the matches played so far. The visitors will be keen to witness the right-hander shine in Pune, and help their them emerge victorious.
On the bowling front, the New Zealand seamers Mitchell McClenaghan and Tim Southee have been efficient with the new ball, and have been backed by Jasprit Bumrah and Harbhajan Singh.
RPS, on the other hand, might make some changes in their line-up, and try to field a team capable of defeating Mumbai Indians. Skipper Dhoni is not a fan of making changes in the team, but he has reshuffled RPS players as they have lacked consistency this season. He is yet to find his best playing XI, which can help him win matches.
RPS have also been severely hit with injuries, as two key players â€” Kevin Pietersen and Faf Du Plessis â€” are already ruled out of the competition. Usman Khawaja has been named his replacement, but his availability for the game is not confirmed yet.
Saurabh Tiwary played the opener in the last game, but the team management might want to play Australian Peter Handscomb in that role, with Ajinkya Rahane at the other end. Mitchell Marsh is also expected to return to the playing XI, which will see Albie Morkel, who was not impressive in their last match, being benched.
Irrespective of the team put forward by Dhoni, RPS have to win the match in order to move up the IPL 2016 table.
Expected playing XI: Rising Pune Supergiants: Ajinkya Rahane, Peter Handscomb, Steven Smith, MS Dhoni (wk, c ), Thisara Perera, Saurabh Tiwary, Rajat Bhatia, R Ashwin, Mitchell Marsh, Ashok Dinda, M Ashwin
Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (c), Parthiv Patel (wk), Ambati Rayudu, Jos Buttler, Kieron Pollard, Krunal Pandya, Hardik Pandya, Harbhajan Singh, Mitchell McCleneghan, Tim Southee, Jasprit Bumrah