Pune end their forgettable IPL campaign against fellow strugglers Delhi on Sunday but in a sense there is something to play for as the winner will avoid finishing at the bottom of the group table for 2013. Both teams will want to move on and regroup for next year but could they still produce a classic game to finish on a high?
The battle to avoid bottom place comes to a conclusion in Pune with the ninth-placed hosts looking for a victory to avoid winning that particular title for a second successive year. Conversely, avoiding it would give them their highest ever IPL finish. Pune are that kind of team. Bearing in mind the need to win by a decent margin if their fans are to go away with anything other than bad memories of another season of failure, expect the Warriors to retain the big hitting potential of Luke Wright in their side, especially after their horrible last game at home which saw them crawl to 112-9 in their 20 overs. Former captain Angelo Mathews might be under pressure from Mitchell Marsh for his place, with the latter offering a better bowling option as well as an equivalent strike rate with the bat.
A lot of the focus has been on the failure of reigning champions Kolkata to qualify for the play-offs, but if anything the past 12 months have been even more of a disaster for Delhi. At this time last season they sat atop the points table and were hot favourites for the title, but they failed to even make the final and now find themselves on the verge of returning to the foot of the table, which they last occupied in 2011. They’ve lost their last five games and, in fact, are without a win since May 1st. Quite how this happens to a side boasting a top five of Mahela Jayawardene, Virender Sehwag, Umukt Chand, David Warner and Ben Rohrer is anyone’s guess, the simple truth being that for whatever reason, the 2013 incarnation of the Daredevils is less than the sum of its parts. To win this game they need each of those five to score quickly and score plenty against one of the weaker bowling attacks in this IPL.
Match Timings: May 19, 2013 (16:00 local | 10:30 GMT | 16:00 IST)
Pune Warriors (probable) Aaron Finch (c), Robin Uthappa (wk), Yuvraj Singh, Manish Pandey, Raiphi Gomez, Luke Wright, Angelo Mathews, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Wayne Parnell, Ashok Dinda, Ali Murtuza.
Delhi Daredevils (probable) Mahela Jayawardene (c), Unmukt Chand, David Warner, Virender Sehwag, Muralidharen Gautam, Ben Rohrer, Irfan Pathan, Umesh Yadav, Siddharth Kaul, Shahbaz Nadeem, Morne Morkel.