The match will be played at the home ground of 2015 IPL winners, the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, and promises to be a real blockbuster. The Pune team may be a new one, but the players who are part of its roster are among the most consistent performers in the history of IPL cricket. Some of the best examples are skipper MS Dhoni, Ajinkya Rahane, Ravichandran Ashwin and Faf du Plessis.
Mumbai, on the other hand, are in the top bracket in terms of teams that have played in the IPL as they already have 2 titles under their belt. They will be looking to get their campaign on track early with a victory in their very first match of the season.
IPL 2016 Live Score Mumbai V/s Pune
While the crowd at the Wankhede Stadium is going to back the home side completely, there will certainly be some amount of support for Team India players in the Pune side like Dhoni, Rahane and Ashwin. The visitors will be looking to gain early momentum by picking up a win against the title holders in their own backyard.
It has been a long season for the international cricketers and as such, they may take some time to settle into the hustle and bustle of the IPL. This provides the well-rested players an opportunity to make an impression and establish themselves in their respective teams.
The opening game of the 2016 IPL may well turn out to be a high-scoring encounter considering the pitch at the Wankhede Stadium. Throughout the recently concluded World Twenty20, the 22-yard strip at the ground produced matches where both teams scored big runs and even 200-plus targets were chased down.
Rohit Sharma Won the toss and elected to bat:
MS Dhoni: “We were looking to bowl first here. Not a lot of time to get used to the team. We do not have the luxury like we had at CSK but everybody knows the responsibility.”
Rohit Sharma: “We are going to bat first. Looks a good track, played enough cricket here. We are playing with six batters.”
Mumbai are up against a newly drafted Pune. The Maharashtrian derby promises to be spicier than some of the hottest local Marathi cuisine. Mumbai are playing at home, they have a title to defend, a crowd to support with a war-cry but I think Mumbai-Pune expressway means that Pune too will have a substantial support. It’s hardly a two hour ride from Pune to Mumbai. Pune have hired the services of a cool head and the world is yet to make a spicy dish which can make him lose his cool. Chennai’s adopted son Dhoni will lead Pune this time and the task will be cut out for him to adjust to a newly formed dressing room which has some of the players he has not led in the past. You can scroll down to read more about the strengths and weaknesses of both the teams. I will, in the meantime, leave you with some numbers courtesy the man who loves digging them up – our very own Deepu Narayanan.
While IPL is an wholesome package there are moments which get etched in our mind every year. Moments which might be unsavoury at times, but that’s what IPL is – an amalgam of both bitter-sweet memories. It gives Aditya Tare his starry moment when he hits a six off Rajasthan’s James Faulkner to take Mumbai into the playoffs. I still feel his footballer’s impersonation of engulfing his face by pulling his shirt and flaunting the not-so-chiseled-torso was over the top. Or how about Gautam Gambhir and Virat Kohli arguing about ‘which place serves the best biryani in Delhi’ after the latter was walking off after getting out. These two events also remind me of a ‘cool’ Kieron Pollard as well, after he did well to convince himself that hurling the bat towards Mitchell Starc was not a great idea. Made a last moment change and threw it into the ground but not before he had shaped well to target Starc. Well Starc was the one who had aimed well to hit Pollard after the West Indian backed out. Starc -1, Pollard 0. Cricket is indebted in a way that some of the other ugly moments were not caught on camera, like the slap-gate involving Sreesanth and Harbhajan, or the rumoured scuffle between Robin Uthappa and teenager Sarfaraz Khan (what a talent, has played two U-19 World Cups for India). There are many more, of brilliance, emotions, unbridled joy, euphoria (it is a long tournament, I do not want to empty my bank of words on the first day itself).