The tenth season of IPL 2017 is almost in the ending stage and the picture of the final four teams was decided. Mumbai Indians face Rising Pune Supergiant in the Qualifier-1 and Sunrisers Hyderabad faces Kolkata Knight Riders in the Eliminator match.
Rising Pune Supergiant have never been involved in a playoff. One way or another, Tuesday will be either their second-last or third-last game as an IPL franchise.
This is Twenty20 cricket, however, and it isn’t clear how much of a difference all that experience or lack thereof will make. It could mean something, though. Particularly because Rising Pune will be playing at the Wankhede Stadium, and even more so because they will be without Ben Stokes and Imran Tahir, arguably their two most important players this season.
Yes, the most expensive English player in the Indian Premier League history Ben Stokes and Imran Tahir is likely to miss the play-offs of the ongoing edition of the league. Both have left to join their international sides ahead of South Africa’s ODI series in England.
And it has become quite a tough time for Steve Smith and MS Dhoni to think how to manage the things now in the team for its good performance in the playoffs of IPL 2017.
Regardless, Rising Pune’s spectacular rise up the table, they won eight of their last 10 games to finish the league stage in second place was down to the work of more than just two men, with Rahul Tripathi, Steven Smith, Daniel Christian, Washington Sundar and Jaydev Unadkat making particularly critical contributions.
So, RPS should retain most of their sensible players for the replacement of Ben Stokes and Imran Tahir. Whereas, Mumbai, who have no such worries apart from the loss of Jos Buttler, also to international duty, will start as clear favorites, on home turf, with most of their big names in the excellent form.
Rising Pune have done the double against Mumbai this season. The teams have met four times so far in IPL, with Rising Pune winning three matches and losing one. What do you say about this? Do you think Steve Smith and Dhoni can manage this loss? Share your views with us in the comments section below.