Pune languishing at the bottom of IPL
Their campaign completely haywire after a fifth straight loss, Pune Warriors will be desperate to make amends when they lock horns with star-studded Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Pepsi Indian Premier League match, in Pune, on Wednesday.
It won't be an easy task for Aaron Finch's boys, though, as they are up against a formidable Bangalore side, which boasts of the big-hitting Chris Gayle.
On paper, Bangalore appear to be overwhelming favourites after six wins in 10 games, while Pune are languishing at the bottom with just two wins in 10 matches.
Image: Pune Warriors India
Yuvraj a big disappointment with the bat
The Allan Donald-coached Pune side must be eager to forget the nightmarish experience it encountered the last time these two teams met on April 23, when Bangalore registered the highest team score of 263 as Gayle massacred the bowling to score a record 66-ball 175.
The Warriors have been woefully out of sorts, inconsistent in all departments. Their batting and bowling hasn't clicked together and this is what cost them against two-time IPL champions Chennai Super Kings on Tuesday, when they lost by 37 runs.
Chasing a target of 165 against Chennai, Pune lost the plot, losing three quick wickets at the start, and never recovered from there.
Their batting is yet to fire in unison and barring captain Aaron Finch's three half-centuries, no other Pune batsman has scored a fifty so far in this edition.
Australian all-rounder Steve Smith has chipped in with useful contributions and scored 155 in six matches.
Wicketkeeper batsman Robin Uthappa has failed to make it count with the bat and the opener will be looking for a big score to provide his team a platform.
Flamboyant left-hander Yuvraj Singh is a big disappointment bat in this edition so far with a tally of just 140 runs in his seven matches, at an average of 23.33.
Image: Yuvraj Singh
Pune's death bowling a big concern
Their poor death bowling is a big concern.
Pune gave away 62 runs in the last five overs against Chennai and conceded 63 off their last five overs against a struggling Delhi Daredevils on Sunday.
But they will take heart from the fact that pacers Kane Richardson and Bhuvaneshwar Kumar bowled a fiery spell with the new ball against Chennai, the Australian getting rid of the dangerous Michael Hussey early on.
Leg-spinner Rahul Sharma also partnered the duo well.
Ashok Dinda was expensive throughout but picked the most wickets for his side, 10 in as many matches, at an average of 35.70.
On the other hand, in the days after defeating Pune by 130 runs, Bangalore have lost two games in a row and the visitors will be keen to get back to the winning ways.
Bangalore have won all their matches at home and will try to shrug off the tag of not being able to win the away games by securing a victory at the Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium in Pune.
Image: Bhuvneshwar Kumar
RCB dependent on in-form Gayle
Although they are in a good position, RCB will be desperate to return to winning ways as they know one more defeat will not only affect their momentum but also turn things around in quick time.
Gayle has amassed 484 runs and is the leading run-scorer in the tournament and Pune are well aware of his hard-hitting abilities, having been on the receiving end once.
Bangalore will be hoping for a similar show from the Jamaican to keep them in hunt for a berth in the play-offs.
Skipper Virat Kohli is in good touch, with 366 runs under his belt, while the visitors also boast of Tillakaratne Dilshan and AB de Villiers up their ranks.
Dilshan hasn't performed with the bat so far and was dropped in the previous game against Rajasthan Royals, which Bangalore lost by four wickets.
The bowling attack is relatively young and experienced pacers -- Vinay Kumar, R P Singh and Ravi Rampaul -- have been unable to restrict the opposition batsmen in the last two games.
Kumar is the go-to bowler for the captain; he has 15 wickets in 10 matches, at an average of 20.60.
Pune Warriors: Aaron Finch (captain), Angelo Mathews, Abhishek Nayar, Ajanta Mendis, Ali Murtaza, Anustup Mazumdar, Ashok Dinda, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Dheeraj Jadhav, Eklavya Dwivedi, Harpreet Singh, Ishwar Pandey, Kane Richardson, Krishnakant Upadhyay, Luke Wright, Mahesh Rawat, Manish Pandey, Marlon Samuels, Mitchell Marsh, Mithun Manhas, Parveez Rasool, Rahul Sharma, R Gomez, Robin Uthappa, Ross Taylor, Shrikant Wagh, Steve Smith, T Suman, Tamim Iqbal, Udit Birla, Wayne Parnell, Yuvraj Singh.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Virat Kohli (captain), AB de Villiers, Abhimanyu Mithun, Abhinav Mukund, Andrew McDonald, Arun Karthik, Cheteshwar Pujara, Chris Gayle, Christopher Barnwell, Daniel Christian, Daniel Vettori, Harshal Patel, Jaidev Unadkat, K P Appanna, Karun Nair, Mayank Agarwal, Moises Henriques, Murali Kartik, Muttiah
Muralitharan, Pankaj Singh, Prasanth Parameswaran, R Vinay Kumar, Ravi Rampaul, Rudra Pratap Singh, S Aravind, Sandeep Warrier, Saurabh Tiwary, Sheldon Jackson, Sunny Sohal, Syed Mohammad, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Vijay Zol, Zaheer Khan.
Image: Chris Gayle celebrates taking a wicket with his Royal Challengers Bangalore team mates