Finally after 56 league matches, Indian Premier league heads into the business end of the tournament. The first Qualifier would be played between the best two sides of the season so far, Mumbai Indians and Rising Pune Supergiants. The loser of this game will have another shot at making it to the final, but both teams will be eager to avoid that extra knockout game. The two heavyweights will battle it out in Mumbai’s iconic Wankhede Stadium. Here are the Preview and Match Predictions for Mumbai Indians vs Rising Pune Supergiants.
Mumbai Indians have turned out to be the most dangerous side of IPL 2017. And they have proved themselves as a deadly force in the later half of the previous seasons. MI played a gamble in their last match to test their bench strength. And they cruised to a nine run victory despite the absence of key players. Nine different Mumbai players have won the Man of the Match award this season and this speaks volume of the fact that they have enough resources to get the job done.
Rising Pune Supergiants have been the comeback horses of this derby. With just one win in their first four matches, they were once again facing the drubbing they received in the debut season. Then came the turnaround; they won eight of the last ten matches. With the latest being an emphatic win over Kings XI Punjab in a virtual knockout clash. But the two players who had a significant role in this surge – Ben Stokes and Imran Tahir have left for national duty.
In the last match played here, Kings XI posted a mammoth total of 230 and Mumbai Indians nearly chased it down. The toss is crucial as the teams like to chase here and dew is expected to play a role in the second innings. On such a batsmen friendly wicket, no score is safe.
MUMBAI INDIANS – STRENGTHS
Kieron Pollard and Hardik Pandya are looking in great form. The good showing of Ambati Rayudu and Saurabh Tiwary in the last match have opened a lot of options for Mumbai. Ambati Rayudu’s inclusion in the squad can lend a much needed stability to the middle order. Jasprit Bumrah has been the star of their bowling attack with exemplary death bowling skills. The openers Lendl Simmons and Parthiv Patel have got them off to explosive starts. Krunal Pandya and Harbhajan Singh have kept the batsmen quiet in the middle overs. And the fact that they are playing at home makes this side a lot more dangerous.
MUMBAI INDIANS – WEAKNESSES
Their biggest concern is the inconsistent showing of the captain, Rohit Sharma with the bat. Add to that,he has a dismal record in Playoff matches; in 9 playoff matches – since the concept was introduced in 2010 – he has scored a total of 128 runs in nine innings. Mitchell McClenaghan has leaked too much runs. Lasith Malinga has failed to make an impact. Nitish Rana has struggled after a brilliant start to the season. The management would have some selection dilemma in their hands.
RISING PUNE SUPERGIANTS – STRENGTHS
Jaydev Unadkat has turned out to be their most reliable bowler. His ability to deliver key strikes and keep the batsmen quiet has worked wonders for RPS. Daniel Christian, Shardul Thakur and Washington Sundar have also contributed with the ball, which is why no opposition has surpassed 170 in their last six matches. Manoj Tiwary has done a remarkable job in the middle order. RPS are the only team that have defeated Mumbai Indians in both away and home fixtures this season.
RISING PUNE SUPERGIANTS – WEAKNESSES
Their biggest concern would be to find the replacement of their most valuable player, Ben Stokes. Pune would feel unsettled in his absence as they’ll be left wanting in one of the departments of the game if they replace him with Usman Khawaja or Lockie Ferguson. Ajinkya Rahane is still grappling with his poor form. M S Dhoni hasn’t exactly fired with the bat. Steve Smith has thrown away good starts with his last half-century coming seven innings ago. Rahul Tripathi needs to shrug off the last few matches bad performance.
MI – Mumbai would be tempted to play Ambati Rayudu ahead of out of form Nitish Rana. Despite Saurabh Tiwary’s half century in the last match, Parthiv Patel is expected to be recalled. The return of frontline bowlers like Jasprit Bumrah, Mitchell McClenaghan, Lasith Malinga and Harbhajan Singh, would mean four more changes.
Parthiv Patel (wk), Lendl Simmons, Rohit Sharma (capt), Ambati Rayudu, Krunal Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya, Harbhajan Singh, Mitchell McClenaghan, Jasprit Bumrah, Lasith Malinga
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RPS – With the departure of Ben Stokes, RPS would direly miss his all round skills. Ferguson could be brought in to replace him to beef up the bowling attack. They have another option in Australian opener, Usman Khawaja.
Ajinkya Rahane, Rahul Tripathi, Steven Smith (capt), Manoj Tiwary, MS Dhoni (wk), Lockie Ferguson, Daniel Christian, Washington Sundar, Shardul Thakur, Jaydev Unadkat, Adam Zampa.
HEAD TO HEAD
Overall: Played – 4, MI – 1, RPS – 3.
In 2017: Played – 2, MI – 0, RPS – 2.
The Mumbai Indians have a 2-0 win-loss record in Playoff matches at the Wankhede Stadium; they defeated KKR in the Eliminator in 2011 and CSK in the Qualifier 1 in 2015.
IPL has finally reached the playoff junction and the Supergiants and Indians would be giving their all in a quest to take a first flight to Hyderabad. Here’s what we predict.
If MI bats first
1st Innings Score: 180 – 190
RPS wins by 5 wickets.
If RPS bats first
1st Innings Score: 170 – 180
MI wins by 5 wickets.