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Mumbai Indians vs Rising Pune Supergiant, IPL 2017 Qualifier: Winners go to final

The battle to the top in IPL 2017 will begin with the Qualifier 1 clash between Mumbai Indians and Rising Pune Supergiant at the Wankhede Stadium on Tuesday

ipl 2017 Updated: May 16, 2017 16:20 IST
Harit Joshi
IPL 2017
Mumbai Indians and Rising Pune Supergiant will battle it out if Qualifier 1 of IPL 2017 at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Tuesday.(PTI)

After 41 days of gruelling travel and nerve-racking action, the Indian Premier League’s 10th edition has reached its final stretch. This week will decide which team out of the four ---Mumbai Indians, Rising Pune Supergiant, Kolkata Knight Riders and Sunrisers Hyderabad --- will lift the glittering trophy. (IPL 2017 FULL COVERAGE)

The battle to the top will begin with the Qualifier 1 clash between Mumbai Indians and Rising Pune Supergiant at the Wankhede Stadium on Tuesday. While Mumbai Indians have clearly been the most dominant team of IPL-10 with 10 wins in 14 games, Rising Pune Supergiant are the only team to defeat Rohit Sharma & Co twice this season.

Mumbai Indians would be raring to avenge their losses to RPS, while Steven Smith & Co would be licking their fingers at the prospect of reaching their maiden IPL final in only their second year in the tournament if they manage to beat Mumbai Indians again.

READ | Mumbai Indians vs Rising Pune Supergiant: 5 key battles to watch out for

MI fancy their chances

Going into their third clash with RPS, the two defeats would be weighing on Mumbai Indians players’ minds. On both occasions, MI were undone by the brilliance of Ben Stokes and Imran Tahir. In the opener, Tahir dismissed MI’s top three batsmen and his double strike (Rohit and Jos Buttler) in his second over took the momentum away from Mumbai Indians.

In Rising Pune Supergiant’s away match against Mumbai Indians, Stokes lived up to his billing with a sensational penultimate over where he conceded just seven runs as RPS successfully defended 160/6 at the Wankhede Stadium.

However, Mumbai Indians would take heart from the fact that Rising Pune Supergiant’s key men, Stokes and Tahir, are not available for the all-important contest.

READ | Rising Pune Supergiant will miss Ben Stokes in IPL qualifier vs Mumbai Indians

Bench test

Here’s where the Rising Pune Supergiant bench strength would be put to test. The replacements for Stokes and Tahir will have big boots to fill.

For Mumbai Indians, there aren’t any such concerns. Despite resting their six key players for their last league match, Rohit & Co emerged triumphant against Kolkata Knight Riders at the Eden Gardens with Ambati Rayudu and Saurabh Tiwary scoring half centuries. Even Buttler’s replacement, Lendl Simmons, has struck the right notes with 126 runs in four matches.

READ | Ajinkya Rahane hails Rising Pune Supergiant’s bowlers after IPL play-off entry

MI’s all-round show

Mumbai Indians have been the team to beat in this IPL. They have hardly put a foot wrong in their quest to record their third IPL title with five out of seven matches won in home and away fixtures. They have had nine different ‘Man-of-the-Match’ winners from 14 games with only Simmons winning two, which shows that the team in not reliant on any particular player.

On the other hand, Smith’s team would be banking on their winning momentum. After suffering three defeats in their first four games, Rising Pune Supergiant tasted eight victories in their next 10 encounters, which has been a big factor in their turnaround.

Smith & Co know what it takes to breach the Mumbai Indians fortress at Wankhede to make the contest a mouth-watering one for the fans.