The Match: The game 13 of this year’s edition of the Indian Premier League will have the Mumbai Indians host their first game of the tournament at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. They will be up against the Kochi Tuskers Kerala, the new team on the block. >
How the two teams match up: Mumbai Indians have clearly been the team to watch out for this season so far. They have been clinical in their destruction of both their opening opponents, in Delhi Daredevils and Royal Challengers Bangalore and with two wins from two games, one of the top teams in the competition so far. >
On the other hand, the Kochi Tuskers have fought well in both the games that they have played but have been unfortunate to be pipped off at the post. Royal Challengers Bangalore had AB de Villiers whereas the Pune Warrior possessed the batting of Mohnish Mishra in the end to ensure that they could not polish things off.
Ground Conditions: This is the first game that the Wankhede Stadium will host in this year’s IPL but if the World Cup final on April 2 this year was anything to go by then the pitch should assist the pace bowling. Dew will be an obvious factor here as it had been in the final of the World Cup and that will mean that the team winning the toss will want to field first.
The Teams: Mumbai Indians do not need to change their side, given that they have won both their games. However, there is an obvious sense of itching that Andrew Symonds would have expressed to get into the playing eleven. He has missed two games due to a niggle and it will be interesting to see if he gets his chance. If he comes in, one of the foreign players will need to sit out – and that could just be James Franklin.
The rest of the side will essentially remain the same, especially after Davy Jacobs seemed to have proved his wicket-keeping and batting worth in the previous game.
The Kochi Tuskers will need to take harsh decisions. Their bowling is just not right for the kind of form that they have been showing and it is time for one of RP Singh or S Sreesanth to sit out. In their place, if someone could come in, it is John Hastings, the pace bowler who will return from the Bangladesh series.
What will then need to happen is for one of the other foreign players to make way to accommodate Hastings. Muralitharan could just bite the dust in these night games where the dew is making it difficult for him
Players to look out for: For the Mumbai Indians it will be the bowling of Harbhajan Singh that needs to step up. On the other hand, Kochi needs Mahela Jayawardene to start scoring.
Prediction: Mumbai Indians will be hugely favourites.