IPL 2017 final: Steve Smith says Indian youngsters key in Rising Pune Supergiant’s success | ipl 2017 | Hindustan Times
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IPL 2017 final: Steve Smith says Indian youngsters key in Rising Pune Supergiant’s success

Steve Smith, the Rising Pune Supergiant skipper, has lavished praise on Indian youngsters like Jaydev Unadkat, Washington Sundar and Rahul Tripathi and credited their vital roles in taking the team to the final of IPL 2017 where they will take on Mumbai Indians.

ipl 2017 Updated: May 21, 2017 10:14 IST
Siddharth Vishwanathan
Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit Sharma (R) and Rising Pune Supergiant captain Steve Smith (L) addressed the media  on the eve of the IPL 2017 final in Hyderabad on Saturday.
Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit Sharma (R) and Rising Pune Supergiant captain Steve Smith (L) addressed the media on the eve of the IPL 2017 final in Hyderabad on Saturday.(PTI)

In IPL 2017, Rising Pune Supergiant have been boosted by Indian youth power. Washington Sundar, the 17-year-old off-spinner, has a magnificent economy rate of 6.61. Jaydev Unadkat, 25-years-old, has emerged as the main strike bowler of the side with a magnificent haul of 22 wickets in 11 games at a strike-rate of 11.4. The belligerence of 26-year-old Rahul Tripathi at the top with 388 runs from 13 games at a strike-rate of close to 150 have given the team great starts.

Steve Smith, the captain, said the contribution of youngsters was a key factor as the team aims to win their maiden IPL title. Speaking at the press conference ahead of the summit clash against Mumbai Indians on Sunday, Smith lavished praise on Sundar, who picked up 3/16 against Mumbai Indians in the first qualifier.

READ | IPL 2017 final: Mumbai Indians eye 3rd title, Rising Pune Supergiant their 1st

“Washington’s spell in the game against Mumbai Indians was simply outstanding. For a 17-year-old to come out against some quality players and do what he did was outstanding. The young guys have been a real big part of our success throughout this tournament,” Smith said.

However, the dynamics of the final are different. The Rising Pune Supergiant side lack a bit of international experience in the line-up but Smith believed that it was not an impediment.

“They have not played those high pressure final games. That can play into your favour sometimes. They can play with freedom and do the job,” the Rising Pune Supergiant skipper said.

Final a different ball game

Rising Pune Supergiant have entered the final for the first time. They head into the contest against Mumbai Indians having secured a hat-trick of wins against Rohit Sharma’s side. However, come the final, Smith believes that it will be a totally different ball game.

“Finals cricket is finals cricket. It all boils down to who plays well. Both teams have played really good cricket so far and I am sure tomorrow’s clash is going to be another beauty as well,” Smith added.

‘Both are fine leaders’

Rising Pune Supergiant have been blessed with the presence of two great captains in Smith and former India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Stephen Fleming, the coach, said both Smith and Dhoni are excellent communicators and that has benefited everyone in the team.

“Sitting with them, it’s been nothing but influential for younger players, beneficial for seniors and helpful for me. Great dynamic to be part of,” Fleming stated.

READ | Rohit Sharma, Steve Smith play down head-to-head results on eve of IPL 2017 final

With Dhoni playing in his sixth final, all eyes will be on him. In this edition, he has smashed 280 runs but his strike-rate has been 118.14.

However, Fleming stated that Dhoni is determined to win the title. “He has been one of the most successful players over the last decade. Another opportunity for him to win a final tomorrow, something that he is up for it,” Fleming stated.

For Rising Pune Supergiant, a win against Mumbai Indians will be the culmination of a remarkable turnaround, which has been driven by the energy of the youngsters.