IPL 10, Match 44, SRH v RPS: Rising Pune Supergiant Predicted XI

IPL 10, Match 44, SRH v RPS: Rising Pune Supergiant Predicted XI

Rising Pune Supergiant are just one win away from sealing a berth in the final four and will be looking to do that in their away game against Sunrisers Hyderabad.

Rising Pune Supergiant
Rising Pune Supergiant celebrate after winning against Royal Challengers Bangalore. (Photo: IANS)

Rising Pune Supergiant are peaking at the right time. With 6 wins in the last 7 games, RPS have staked claim for a spot in the last four. They will, though, now face a tough proposition of facing Sunrisers Hyderabad at home, who have not lost a single game at home so far this year.

Only a single point separates both teams in the points table after 11 games apiece. RPS are at the third spot with 14 points whereas the rain inflicted encounter earlier in the season meant that SRH have odd points: 13. Both teams are within touching distance to qualify for the Playoffs and would want to do it as quickly as possible for a stutter at this stage will give the others a chance.

Sunrisers must be still reeling after they were handed a shock defeat by Delhi Daredevils. Chasing a tricky 186, which looked a winning total as the Feroz Shah Kotla wicket started turning, DD finished the game with 6 wickets in hand and 5 balls to spare. But things change when the defending champions walk out to compete at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad. Warner-led SRH will be keen to win this encounter as they were beaten by RPS in their away fixture.

RPS are going about their business very professionally with everyone contributing to the cause. This away game against SRH will be a steep challenge but they have the right personnel to come up triumphs.

Here is a predicted XI for RPS:

Openers (Ajinkya Rahane and Rahul Tripathi)

Tripathi has been a revelation since he was asked to open the innings earlier in the season. He is giving flying starts to Pune even if Rahane has been quiet most of the season. His roller-coaster innings of 93 on Wednesday took KKR by surprise. He smashed the bowlers around and scored runs at will to produce one of the better innings seen in IPL 2017. Tripathi also contributed in the home win against SRH with an enterprising inning of 59.

Rahane will partner Tripathi at the top of the order again. 226 runs in 11 innings at 20.54 this year don’t reflect the true potential of the Indian Test vice-captain. Apart from his ice-cool 60 in RPS’s first game this year, Rahane has failed to get the scores expected of him. Tripathi has taken the pressure off to some extent from the 29-year old, but Rahane has to contribute as Tripathi can’t fire in each game.

Middle Order (Steve Smith, Manoj Tiwary, Ben Stokes and MS Dhoni)

A tally of 13 runs in the last two games means that Smith is due for runs in this crucial game. Smith has led them well this year and has also contributed with 333 runs in 10 innings, striking at 135 per 100 balls. He needs to step up in this all important tie as he will occupy the No. 3 spot.

Manoj Tiwary has scored just 190 runs in 10 innings but most of those runs came late down the order. Seeing the good form he was in, Tiwary is not being sent to bat at No. 4, which is an ideal position for him. His unbeaten 8-ball 17 were crucial in the undoing of the defending champions at the MCA Stadium two weeks ago.

Ben Stokes scored a timely unbeaten hundred to vindicate his huge price tag in RPS’s chase of 162 against Gujarat Lions. It was his maiden hundred in this format where he displayed his wide range of shots and was good enough to execute them at the big stage when the pressure was immense. His bowling has been ever consistent as he has led the RPS attack throughout the season.

It was the home game against SRH where MS Dhoni struck form as he guided his team home in a tough chase of 177 with an unbeaten 61. Since then Dhoni has managed to get a couple of twenties and is due for a big impact innings. He can be promoted to bat at No. 4 if the need be, which is the best position to bat for someone like Dhoni. The 35-year old has been ever reliable behind the stumps.

All-Rounder (Daniel Christian)

Dan Christian has played an immense role in RPS’s turnaround. He has contributed in almost every game with telling spells in the middle overs to go with a couple of cameos with the bat during the end of the innings. Christian has just 68 runs off 8 games but his strike rate of 161.90 has been great. Christian operates cunningly in the middle overs and makes sure that the scoring rate is under check.

Bowlers (Washington Sundar, Jaydev Unadkat, Imran Tahir and Shardul Thakur)

Replacing someone as great as Ravi Ashwin is a daunting task but Sundar has accepted the challenge. All of just 17, Sundar has bowled well in the Powerplays whenever Smith has thrown the new ball towards him. His economy rate of 7.12 has been excellent. The Pune batting has done reasonably well so Sundar hasn’t got the chance to display his batting ability. A left-hander by trade, this 17-year old is a genuine all-rounder who bats as well as he bowls.

Unadkat’s haul of 12 wickets from 7 games has been worth its weight in gold. The left-arm pacer has bowled exceptionally well especially with his cutters during the end overs. His 2/28 against KKR was again a testimony of his form this season.

Imran Tahir is ranked number two in the list of the highest wicket takers this year, picking 17 wickets in 11 games. Though he has an economy rate of 8.02 this year, he gives Smith wickets in almost every game which is the best way of containing a batting side.

Shardul Thakur has formed an integral part of the RPS’s bowling-unit. He bowls with pace and is handy with his variation during the slog overs. He did a good job against KKR as he returned with 0/21 off 3 overs. He has the right attitude for a fast bowler and will form a part of the four-man pace attack alongside Unadkat, Stokes and Christian.

This will be tight encounter and will come down to who succumbs to the pressure first.