The last time Rising Pune Supergiant walked out at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Sanju Samson thrashed them to all corners of the park as they crashed to a 97-run loss against Delhi Daredevils in the Indian Premier League.
RPS skipper Steve Smith wasn’t a part of the disaster, out with an upset stomach, but must have been dismayed by the way his side surrendered, collapsing to the lowest total of the IPL this season.
Thus, when they host defending champions Sunrisers Hyderabad here on Saturday, they’ll not just hope to script a victory to atone for the humiliating defeat, they’ll want to start afresh at home. It won’t be an easy task though, given that their opponents have won their last two games in style. However, with Sunrisers Hyderabad yet to win an away game this season, they might just sniff a chance.
It has been a perfect combination for Sunrisers Hyderabad since the two losses against former IPL champions Mumbai Indians and Kolkata Knight Riders. While their batsmen have fired in unison to pile up quality runs on board, their bowlers have held sway over the opposition batting by keeping them in check during the crucial overs.
Their explosive top three — David Warner, Shikhar Dhawan and Kane Williamson are in form and if even one of them manages to fire for Sunrisers Hyderabad on Saturday, Rising Pune Supergiant will have a task on hand. And chasing a big total won’t be easy with Bhuvneshwar Kumar --- the leading bowler of 2017 IPL --- and Rashid Khan leading the bowling. The duo has been extremely impressive in the IPL, having picked up 24 off their side’s 44 wickets so far.
The below par batting show by Rising Pune Supergiant, boasting of Steve Smith, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Ben Stokes and Ajinkya Rahane, has left the team languishing near the bottom of the table.
Even in their last match against Royal Challengers Bangalore that they managed to win, five of their batsmen managed to go past the 25-run mark but failed to build on their starts. Rahul Tripathi was the highest scorer with 31, and barring Manoj Tiwary, none had a strike rate of more than 135. Stokes and Shardul Thakur did manage to defend RCB’s total of 161 though, but the team still looks a shadow of the confident side that beat Mumbai Indians in their opening fixture.
(** Sunrisers Hyderabad’s standing (third) in IPL 2017 is before the KKR vs GL tie)