As the group stage of the IPL 2017 is done and dusted, we move into the business end of the tournament. Mumbai Indians take on Rising Pune SuperGiant in the first qualifier of the season. The winner plays the final on Sunday, whereas the loser earns another chance to battle it out with the winner of the eliminator to reach the final.
Unlike their first season in the prestigious tournament, RPS have looked strong and determined this year. Right from the auctions in February, they have checked all the right boxes. Buying Ben Stokes for a hefty Rs 14 Crores has paid off, and the Englishman has helped his team reach the playoffs.
With MS Dhoni being replaced by Steve Smith as the captain of the side, and Ravi Ashwin missing the tourament due to injury, there were certain doubts about Supergiant’s campaign. But they really shrugged off all the doubts and finished at second position on the points table.
The captain himself has been the best batsman for the Pune side. Amassing 420 runs at a strike rate of 125 with 2 fifties, he has really been the player to watch out for.
Rahul Tripathi, a local talent, was brought in the squad this season to strengthen to fill the vacant opening slot and boy has he performed. Scoring 388 runs in his 12 games playing at 150, he has impressed one and all with his batting exploits. It will be interesting to see how the youngster performs under the pressure of finals.
Due to International assignments, Ben Stokes has left the team early. It raises problems for the team as to who will their fourth overseas player be to maintain the balance that Ben Stokes brings.
Predicted XI: Ajinka Rahane, Rahul Tripathi, Steve Smith, MS Dhoni, Manoj Tiwary, Washington Sundar,Lockie Furgeson, Dan Christain, Imran Tahir, Jaydev Unadkat, Shardul Thakur
Average score for the Supergiants have been around 160 this season and they have chased really well. They would look to do the same in the Qualifier against Mumbai Indians.
Win the toss. Bowl First.