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IPL 2017: Rising Pune Supergiant – strengths and weaknesses – ahead of final

Rising Pune Supergiant, who just escaped the wooden spoon in the previous edition of Indian Premier League, now have a chance to win the final of IPL 2017 against Mumbai Indians.

ipl 2017 Updated: May 20, 2017 22:28 IST
Siddharth Vishwanathan
IPL 2017
Rising Pune Supergiant will look to win their maiden Indian Premier League (IPL) title when they take on two-time champions Mumbai Indians in the final of IPL 2017 at Uppal on Sunday. (BCCI )

Rising Pune Supergiant are on the cusp of creating something special. From escaping the wooden spoon in IPL 2016, they are on the verge of winning IPL 2017. Discounting the first edition, they’ll be hoping to become the fourth team to win the final on the first attempt after Deccan Chargers, Kolkata Knight Riders and Sunrisers Hyderabad. Ahead of the final against Rohit Sharma’s team, here are the strengths and weaknesses of RPS:

(Read | Mumbai Indians vs Rising Pune Supergiant: Road to IPL 2017 final)

Strengths -

Depth in batting: Ajinkya Rahane, Rahul Tripathi, Steve Smith, Manoj Tiwary, MS Dhoni and Daniel Christian. One is a seasoned campaigner who can change gears. The other is a dasher who has taken IPL 2017 by storm. Smith is in prime form and Tiwary’s ability to hold the innings has benefited Rising Pune Supergiant immensely. With Dhoni’s power and Christian’s finishing capability, the depth and variety in their batting makes them potent.

Jaydev Unadkat’s super strikes: With 22 wickets in 11 games, the main factor behind Rising Pune Supergiant’s march to the final has been Jaydev Unadkat. Having played for Kolkata Knight Riders, Delhi Daredevils and Royal Challengers Bangalore in the past, the left-arm pace bowler has finally displayed his skills and Rising Pune Supergiant have benefited immensely.

(Read | Jaydev Unadkat - the ‘Supergiant’ in Pune’s march to IPL 2017 final)

Washington Sundar’s brilliant economy: Combined with Unadkat’s striking ability, teenager Washington Sundar has been an unsung hero. His three wickets in two overs against Mumbai Indians in Qualifier 1 changed the course of the match. His economy rate of 6.61 is the fourth-best in this edition and with eight wickets in 10 games, his contributions have been magnificent

MS Dhoni - X factor in batting and captaincy: By his standards, MS Dhoni has had a lukewarm IPL 2017, managing just 280 runs in 15 games at an average of 28 and a strike-rate of 118. However, in a big final, Dhoni is a different proposition altogether. This stage is ideal for the former India skipper to play a knock that can deflate the opposition. In addition to having experience of playing as captain in six IPL finals, his inputs will go a long way in Rising Pune Supergiant securing victory.

MS Dhoni , former Rising Pune Supergiant captain, has scored 280 runs in 15 IPL 2017 games. (BCCI )

Weaknesses -

Nerves playing in the final: Rising Pune Supergiant boast of names such as Steve Smith, MS Dhoni. Players who have had experience playing in finals of major tournaments and winning trophies. However, the side will play the IPL final for the first time and nerves could play a part in deciding the outcome.

(Read | No Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh in Ajit Agarkar’s all-time IPL XI)

Lack of big opening partnerships: Inconsistency from openers has been a major issue for Rising Pune Supergiant. In 15 matches so far, the openers have strung a fifty-plus stand only thrice, which is the second-worst among all teams behind Royal Challengers Bangalore. Another major problem for the team is that Ajinkya Rahane and Rahul Tripathi have not fired together. Smith’s team will be hoping both openers step up on the big stage.

(Read | IPL 2017 final: Mumbai Indians vs Rising Pune Supergiant - key player battles)

No finishers and power hitters: With the departure of Ben Stokes, Rising Pune Supergiant do not have a power hitter at the back end who can take the game away in the final. Even in the finishing department, the team is struggling. Dan Christian, a touted finisher, has struggled. Dhoni has also not got going like we are used to seeing him do. In the first qualifier, although he slammed a 26-ball 40, he had taken 17 balls to score his 14 runs. Such an approach might backfire in the final.

No bowler with huge international experience: With Stokes and Imran Tahir leaving, the international bowling experience in the Rising Pune Supergiant is relatively thin. The rarely used Adam Zampa and Christian are the only players who have had decent exposure to international cricket but the likes of Unadkat and New Zealand pacer Lockie Ferguson have not had much exposure. Will a raw bowling attack in the final prove risky?