Steve Smith
RPS need Steve Smith to deliver against Mumbai Indians. Pictured: RPS' Steve Smith slashes the ball hard against Gujarat Lions at Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune on April 29, 2016.IANS

Mumbai Indians will start as favourites as they prepare to face Rising Pune Supergiants at the MCA Stadium in Pune on Sunday. The Mumbai Indian players are gelling as a unit at a crucial juncture, but RPS are yet to show their class in IPL 2016. 

RPS have registered only two victories in IPL 2016, one of them being the competition's opener, against Mumbai Indians, after which they have been below par. However, the home team can derive some inspiration from that impressive victory over Mumbai Indians by nine wickets.

Ajinkya Rahane shone with the bat during the game, and the right-hander will once again need to step up his game on Sunday. Along with Rahane, who is the centurion from the last match, Steve Smith will hold the key in their batting line-up. Skipper MS Dhoni also needs to deliver if he wants to see his team climb up in the standings, and show some fighting spirit in the competition.

RPS will miss Faf du Plessis and Kevin Pietersen in Pune. They might be hurt by these absences, as the players have been ruled out of IPL 2016 due to injuries.

"It is always difficult when you have these injuries. But the guys are doing their best to try and win some games. We haven't started this tournament as well as we would have liked, but hopefully we can turn that around with a few wins in the next couple of games," IPL official website quoted Smith as saying.

Dhoni's bowlers have not been impressive enough in IPL 2016. It is time for them to gel as a unit, and get their team out of trouble in the tournament. They do not have a world-class pacer, which seems to be hurting them, making them depend on Thisara Perera, Mitchell Marsh and Ashok Dinda. 

One of the major disappointments has been Ravichandran Ashwin, who has taken only two wickets in his last seven games. 

With Rohit Sharma, Ambati Rayudu and Kieron Pollard looking good for Mumbai Indians in their last few games, RPS bowlers have a huge task on their hand. Mumbai Indians have not only quality batsmen, but also wonderful bowlers like Mitchell McClenaghan and Jasprit Bumrah to trouble the RPS batsmen.

Though Mumbai Indians batsmen struggled when the two teams met last in Mumbai, things are expected to change in Pune as their batsmen have scored freely of late. They have scored 178 and 189 runs in their last two matches, and what looks impressive is the batsmen have shared the run-scroing burden. One batsmen or the other is delivering the goods in most of the matches. 

If the Mumbai Indians batsmen fire once again, they are going to strengthen their position in the match, and also win the game, which can help them jump to the second spot in the standings. Mumbai Indians are looking for their third straight win in IPL 2016.

Where to watch live 

RPS vs Mumbai Indians IPL 2016 match – is scheduled to start at 8 p.m. IST (3:30 p.m. BST, 10:30 a.m. ET). Live TV coverage of the RPS vs Mumbai Indians IPL 2016 match will be on Sony Max, Sony Six/HD, Sony ESPN/HD. Online options are available onHotstar and

Sky Sports 2 will broadcast the RPS vs Mumbai Indians IPL 2016 match live in the UK and Ireland, with the live stream options on Watch Sky Sports and Sky Go.

Viewers in the US can watch Rising Pune Supergiants vs Mumbai Indians IPL 2016 match onESPN, while the game can also be live streamed on Watch ESPN.Sportsnet and viewers in Canada can watch the Rising Pune Supergiants vs Mumbai Indians IPL 2016 match on Watch Sportsnet.

OSN Sports Cricket will show RPS vs Mumbai Indians IPL 2016 match in the Middle East and North Africa, while all the action can also be watched via live streaming online onOSN Cricket Play.

Supersport and Supersport Live Video will broadcast RPS vs Mumbai Indians IPL 2016 match in South Africa.

Viewers from across the world, around 133 countries, can watch the IPL 2016 match live online on Cricketgateway.

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