Smith seeks winning start at venue of Test success

Match facts

Rising Pune Supergiant v Mumbai Indians
Pune, April 6, 2017
Start time 10:30 local (1430 GMT)

Head to head

Overall: Both sides have one away win apiece against each other.

In the news

MS Dhoni will not be leading an IPL team for the first time after Rising Pune Supergiant handed the captaincy to Steven Smith. There are two others – Faf du Plessis and Ajinkya Rahane – who have captaincy experience, so the team won’t be short of ideas.

Supergiant won’t have R Ashwin for the season because of a sports hernia, and Mitchell Marsh is also injured, but they signed the current No.1 T20 and ODI bowler Imran Tahir.

Mumbai Indians had a change of guard, with Mahela Jayawardene replacing the 2015 title-winning coach Ricky Ponting. Mumbai don’t have players on the injury list, but do have a few returning from it.

Rohit Sharma has played only two competitive matches since undergoing thigh surgery in November and scored 20 runs in them. He’s lasted two warm-up games without discomfort and said he’s overcome fears to last the season and beyond. Lasith Malinga will also be returning from an injury layoff but is likely to join the team on April 7, after finishing Sri Lanka’s home series against Bangladesh.

The likely XIs

Rising Pune Supergiant: 1 Ajinkya Rahane, 2 Mayank Agarwal, 3 Faf du Plessis, 4 Steven Smith (capt), 5 Ben Stokes, 6 MS Dhoni (wk), 7 Rajat Bhatia, 8 Jaydev Unadkat 9 Ankit Sharma, 10 Ashok Dinda, 11 Adam Zampa

Mumbai Indians: 1 Rohit Sharma (capt), 2 Parthiv Patel (wk), 3 Ambati Rayudu, 4 Jos Buttler, 5 Kieron Pollard, 6 Hardik Pandya, 7 Krunal Pandya, 8 Harbhajan Singh, 9 Mitchell McClenaghan, 10 Jasprit Bumrah, 11 Tim Southee

Stats that matter

  • The average first-innings score at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune since 2014, in the IPL, has been 170. The team chasing has won five out of the eight games
  • Ben Stokes has never bowled to Jos Buttler in a T20 game.
  • Of all the current IPL teams, Mumbai Indians have managed the second-worst run rate at the MCA Stadium – 6.92, across three matches. Sunrisers are the only team to have done worse – they scored 119 for 8 (at 5.95 per over) against Pune Warriors in the 2013 season.
  • Krunal Pandya’s strike rate of 191.12 in the 2016 IPL was the best among batsmen who faced at least 50 balls.
  • Rohit Sharma is Mumbai’s most prolific away batsman with 1301 runs in 48 matches at 35.16. Ambati Rayudu, who has 1213 runs in 55 matches at 30.32, is second.
  • Rajat Bhatia is one of three bowlers against whom Rohit has scored 100 IPL runs – the others are Piyush Chawla and Morne Morkel. Against Bhatia, Rohit has scored 100 runs in 63 balls, and has been dismissed twice.
  • The only three bowlers to have dismissed Faf du Plessis more than once all currently play for Mumbai Indians – Harbhajan Singh (3 times), Mitchell Johnson (2), and Lasith Malinga (2). Against Harbhajan, du Plessis has been out three times in seven innings, and has only scored 49 runs off 47 balls.
  • In the IPL, Steven Smith has scored at more than eight an over against each kind of bowler apart from right-arm spinners, against whom he has only managed a run rate of 6.52.

Akshay Gopalakrishnan is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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