In Pune's match against the Daredevils, the fortunes of the hosts seemed to hinge on a destructive Yuvraj Singh who smashed a top-score of 66 off 32 balls and took 4/29 off 4 overs. But even the heroics of this one-man army were not enough to counter the resolve of a determined DD.
But Pune have a lot going for them apart from Yuvraj. The top-order is looking like one of the most solid batting sections in the tournament with opener Jesse Ryder coming off a 27-ball 60 and compensating for the not-so-hot form of his partner Graeme Smith. While though, the middle order batsmen in Robin Uthappa and Mohnish Mishra had a poor last match, there is no denying their potential.
The bowling is another story, however. Alfonso Thomas, Shrikanth Wagh and Wayne Parnell who comprise the pace trio for Pune were not able to carry through initial bite in the tournament into the last match. Against Delhi, they not only went wicketless, but collectively went for an economy rate of over 12.00! Captain Yuvraj will have to reign them in and make sure they bowl a tighter line versus Mumbai.
Meanwhile, the Mumbai camp will be scratching their heads and wondering how they could have allowed the Kochi match slip through their fingers. Tendulkar, who appears to be in blistering, unconquerable form with his three not-outs in three matches with one of the highest aggregates in the tournament, is probably smarting the most from his side's last loss. How could his unbeaten, maiden century in Twenty20 (which he notched up against Kochi) ultimately have gone in vain?
The answer is simple - the Mumbai Indians bowling was pathetic as fans were stunned to see the drop in their very high standards. Apart from Lasith Malinga, who has consistently been among the wickets in IPL4, none of his fellow-bowlers made any impact. The likes of Munaf Patel, Ali Murtaza, Kieron Pollard and Harbhajan Singh couldn't cop a wicket between them and collectively went for over 9 runs an over. Mumbai will have to tighten the screws before taking on Pune, that's for sure...