Six straight defeats weighing them down, debutants Pune Warriors' enormous task of keeping their wafer-thin hopes of advancing to the next stage
Six straight defeats weighing them down, debutants Pune Warriors' enormous task of keeping their wafer-thin hopes of advancing to the next stage alive doesn't get any easier as they take on table-toppers Mumbai Indians in an Indian Premier League match here on Wednesday.
The two teams are on opposite ends of the win-loss table going into their ninth round clash at the D Y Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai here.
Pune have, however, got a shot in the arm with the inclusion of the Sourav Ganguly in place of the injured pacer Ashish Nehra on Tuesday. But it remains to be seen whether he would get a game on Wednesday.
Mumbai bounced back from a hiccup against Rajasthan Royals to notch up their sixth victory in eight ties on Monday against Kings XI Punjab at the Wankhede Stadium while Pune went down to the same Jaipur franchise two days ago for their sixth loss in eight games.
The six-wicket defeat to the Royals has put the Warriors at the bottom of the 10-team ladder with just four points to their tally. Another defeat would put their campaign off track, making the rest of their round robin engagements into matters of only academic interest.
In such a do-or-die situation, the Yuvraj Singh-led Pune need to show iron-clad nerves to pull it through against the high-flying Mumbai, led by Sachin Tendulkar, in what is termed as the local "Derby" and carry off a stunning victory.
The first leg clash between these two neighbouring city franchises had ended in a massive defeat for Yuvraj and Co. as they were shot out for a measly 112 in just over 17 overs by their rivals who went on to complete a seven-wicket triumph.
The Warriors have shown only fleetingly the desired combined effort after notching up two impressive victories at the beginning. If the batting clicked, the bowlers have gone off target and if the latter delivered, the batsmen had flopped.
The absence of some key players, especially South African opener Graeme Smith who picked up a freak injury after colliding with team-mate Rahul Sharma on the field while going for a high catch early in the tournament, has clearly upset the balance of the outfit.