IPL 2017 Playoffs: SWOT Analysis – Rising Pune Supergiant
The absence of Ben Stokes and Imran Tahir will be the biggest worry for Steve Smith and Co.
Updated - May 16, 2017 1:22 pm
Following a disappointing inaugural season in the IPL, the Rising Pune Supergiant will be mighty pleased to have made it to the top two. The Supergiant will, therefore, be allowed two bites at the cherry. First up, they take on their arch-rivals Mumbai Indians in yet another Maharashtra Derby this season. The winner will safely sail into the all-important final, and RPS will certainly look to be that team.
Credit must go to RPS for having backed themselves despite some of their bigger names missing. Having braved their ups and downs during this season, Steve Smith’s men have got their act together and put their best foot forward in the crucial games. With the league phase done and dusted, it calls for a quick analysis of the Rising Pune Supergiant as they head into the knock-out stage.
The Rising Pune Supergiant will bank on their top order batsmen, namely Rahul Tripathi and Steve Smith, to put the runs on the board. Rahul Tripathi has gone from an unheard name to a true Supergiant. Marrying classiness with aggressiveness, Tripathi has been a find in this edition of the tournament. For a man who’s got minimal first class experience, the young lad has racked up 388 runs this season. RPS will certainly hope this man delivers on the big night and takes the attack to the MI bowlers, all while smiling innocently.
On the other hand, RPS have a rock solid batsman in Steve Smith. The Australian has been in the form of his life. On the back of a spectacular Test series in India, Smith has maintained his momentum in the IPL as well. With a best of 84 not out, Steve Smith has 420 runs against his name in the season. In Smith, RPS also have one of the finest captains in this IPL, who doesn’t hold himself back from rotating his bowlers. It always helps when two top order batsmen of a side feature in the top 10 run getters in a tournament, and Smith and Tripathi have done just that.
Speaking of captains, the Rising Pune Supergiant also have the one and only MS Dhoni behind the stumps. He has a major role to play in suggesting field placements to Smith. With gloves in hand, Dhoni is without a doubt the best man behind the stumps in the IPL.
Out of nowhere, Jaydev Unadkat has catapulted himself to the second position in the hunt for the Purple Cap. His 21 wickets in the season are one of the reasons why Pune have been able to defend their first innings totals. Most recently, Unadkat impressed one and all with a triple-wicket maiden in the final over of a match.
Two massive players from the team having departed before the first Qualifier will seriously hurt the Rising Pune Supergiant. Ben Stokes and Imran Tahir have been match-winners for RPS, who will dearly miss their services as they take on the Mumbai Indians. While Stokes’ all-round performances helped Pune gun down some big totals, Tahir was instrumental in picking wickets at critical stages of the game.
With Stokes gone, the Supergiant’s middle order will be exposed in some sense. In particular, MS Dhoni hasn’t been in the best of forms this season. His highest score in the last eight games has been 31. There will be a lot riding on MS Dhoni in Stokes’ absence. RPS’s middle order, in general, has failed to live up to their big hitting tag. Although Manoj Tiwary has provided the odd big knock, Daniel Christian hasn’t had much to show for. In his defence, he’s a batsman who doesn’t get too many overs to bat in the middle. However, given the opportunities he’s had, Christian has failed to cash in.
Meanwhile, Ajinkya Rahane will also look to make amends to his recent run with the bat. Rahane has had just the one fifty this season, and his sub-120 strike rate hasn’t been impressive either. A 50+ score for Rahane will do wonders to his confidence levels going into the Champions Trophy as well.
Stokes’ departure will allow the likes of MS Dhoni and Dan Christian to take matters into their own hands. Having pointed out that they partly feature in the side’s list of weaknesses this season, Ben Stokes’ absence could also be a blessing in disguise.
MS Dhoni needs no further introduction to his hitting capabilities. Moreover, with Stokes out of the picture, it could allow Dhoni to bat up the order, thus giving him more time to bat out in the middle.
On the other hand, Dan Christian could show his batting prowess as well, as the Rising Pune Supergiant strive to fill in the gap left by the Big Ben.
In the spin department, Adam Zampa will get a much-deserved opportunity in the absence of leggie Imran Tahir. Remember, Zampa was one of RPS’ more successful bowlers in the previous edition of the IPL. The Aussie leg-spinner isn’t afraid to toss the ball up, thus inviting the drive. Adam Zampa will certainly feature in the RPS XI against the Mumbai Indians, and he could well go on to be their hero on the road to a probable final.
Essentially, the Rising Pune Supergiant don’t have too many threats looming over them. However, a possible reason of bother could be their bench strength. In case of injuries, the backup options for the Rising Pune Supergiant look rather bleak. The main players currently warming the bench consists of Usman Khawaja and Baba Aparijith, who haven’t had any match practice whatsoever. Were the Rising Pune Supergiant to be hit by injuries, they’d be in a slight fix over who to play.
Given these points, the Rising Pune Supergiant will go in as favourites when they clash against the Mumbai Indians. Although it will be a home game for MI, the Rising Pune Supergiant have been MI’s nemesis this season. In both encounters, the Supergiant sunk the Mumbai Indians. The first Qualifier is sure to be a cracker-jack of a game.