IPL 2017 Final: Rising Pune Supergiant v Mumbai Indians – Predicted XI Of RPS
Rising Pune Supergiant’s have scripted a great story this season. After bombing in their debut season, the side, with a new captain at the helm, started off in somewhat underwhelming fashion, losing three out of their five matches. They looked disorganised and it seemed that the side would probably end up as an utter failure yet again.
However, in almost every other fixture, stars began to emerge and things began falling in line. The poor start, which created doubts in the minds of the fans and experts, was quickly wiped off the memories, as Steven Smith and his men went on to win eight games out of the last 10 played.
Pune now stands just a step away from laying their hands on the coveted trophy. All they need to ensure is to overcome Mumbai Indians in the highly anticipated final at Hyderabad on Sunday.
Rising Pune Supergiant will be proud of the fact that they remain the only team who haven’t lost to MI this season. The side has got better of their star-studded rivals on all three occasions this season, including the Qualifier 1. This would be a great source of inspiration ahead of the high-pressure game.
Playing the final is different, however. This is the first time Pune is in the finals while for Mumbai this happens to be their fourth appearance. Therefore, the clash, which is also being dubbed as the ‘Grand Maharashtra Derby’, makes one think to be more in favour of the Mumbai than Pune.
But, while we may consider Pune as the underdogs again, they have all the ability to punch above their weight once again and leave MI with a deep dent in their pride.
The Qualifier 1 was a completely one-sided affair which saw Pune win the match with complete dominance. Batting first, Pune posted 162/4 with the help of half-centuries from Ajinkya Rahane (56 from 43 balls) and Manoj Tiwary (58 from 48 balls) along with MS Dhoni’s (40 from 26 balls) late charge.
MI, in response, faced a batting slump triggered by off-spinner Washington Sundar (3/16) and could manage just 142/9. Thus, losing the match by 20 runs.
W W L W W (Most recent first)
Barring Steven Smith and MS Dhoni, they had no one whom the franchise could bank upon. The duo, ironically, was also under pressure. There wasn’t much excitement about Smith becoming the captain either, as Dhoni’s form issues was a debate too.
Ben Stokes was labelled as an overpriced investment and Imran Tahir came in a bit later. The domestic players, as well as less experienced names, weren’t even considered capable of creating any turnaround.
However, the manner in which this season has panned out, every negative assumption made about Pune turned out to be meaningless. Contrastingly, the side was carried by its domestic names, as every other game saw one star emerge; Rahul Tripathi, Manoj Tiwari, Adam Zampa and most recently Washington Sundar.
Smith’s captaincy was also under doubts but he made all the right choices. MS Dhoni is currently the ‘man in form’ and also one of the strongest plus points Pune has at the moment. Tahir and Stokes were the architects of success during the league stages before departing for the national duties.
All these names are currently the talking points. The fans now expect them to do the obvious – showcase a collective performance for the one last time. They have done this in the past, let’s see what happens next.
Here is the XI
Steven Smith wouldn’t want to change the side. The absence of Imran Tahir and Ben Stokes created some selection conundrum but they problem was smoothly taken care of by Smith. Leg-spinner Zampa and fast bowler Lockie Ferguson, who replaced the Tahir-Stokes pair, will retain their place. It is very unlikely that Smith would choose to tinker with the line-up.
Probable line-up: Ajinkya Rahane, Rahul Tripathi, Steven Smith, Manoj Tiwary, MS Dhoni, Dan Christian, Washington Sundar, Lockie Ferguson, Adam Zampa, Shardul Thakur, Jaydev Unadkat.
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