Rising Pune Supergiant vs Mumbai Indians: MS Dhoni’s 1st IPL game as non-captain | ipl 2017 | Hindustan Times
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Rising Pune Supergiant vs Mumbai Indians: MS Dhoni’s 1st IPL game as non-captain

Mumbai Indians (MI), under the proactive leadership of Rohit Sharma, will take on Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) in their opening game of the 2017 Indian Premier League (IPL) at Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Pune on Thursday. It’ll also mark Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s first game as non-captain in the cash-rich league.

ipl 2017 Updated: Apr 05, 2017 23:02 IST
HT Correspondent
Mahendra Singh Dhoni will play his first Indian Premier League (IPL) game as non-captain when Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) take on Mumbai Indians (MI) in the second game of the 2017 edition on Thursday (April 6).
Mahendra Singh Dhoni will play his first Indian Premier League (IPL) game as non-captain when Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) take on Mumbai Indians (MI) in the second game of the 2017 edition on Thursday (April 6). (Hindustan Times)

Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who has only played as a captain in the previous nine editions of Indian Premier League (IPL), will feature in his first game as non-captain when Rising Pune Supergiant – under new captain Steven Smith – take on two-time IPL champions Mumbai Indians at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Pune on Thursday (April 6).

Rising Pune Supergiant, who managed to win just five games in their debut season last year, decided to axe Dhoni as captain. With the decision creating a lot of buzz, Sanjeev Goenka – the RPS owner – later clarified that they wanted someone young to lead the side and revamp it ahead of the upcoming season.

It is pertinent to mention that the former India skipper has played all his 143 IPL matches while leading a side (Chennai Super Kings and Rising Pune Supergiant) in all previous tournaments.

Come April 6, it’ll be the third match between Rising Pune Supergiant and Mumbai Indians in IPL. Both teams have won one match each. RPS defeated MI by nine wickets at Mumbai while Rohit Sharma’s men avenged the loss with a comfortable eight-wicket win in the second encounter last season.

After having a below average inaugural season and suffering a lot of injuries, RPS decided to go all-out in the 2017 auction as they bought England all-rounder Ben Stokes for a record Rs 14.5 crore. Apart from him, New Zealand’s Lockie Ferguson and India’s Manoj Tiwary turned out to be the other big buys. With Ajinkya Rahane, Steven Smith, Imran Tahir, MS Dhoni and Adam Zampa in their ranks, RPS can surely fancy their chances this time around.

On the other hand, Mumbai Indians have brought back Mitchell Johnson – who was a part of their campaign in their 2013 title win. Karn Sharma, who represented Sunrisers Hyderabad last season, turned out to be the most expensive Indian buy in this year’s auction (Rs 3.2 crore). Lasith Malinga, IPL’s all-time leading wicket-taker with 143 wickets in 98 matches, will be unavailable for the first few days because of national duty. The 33-year-old missed the full 2016 IPL season owing to a knee injury, which also kept him out of action for nearly a year. Rohit Sharma, who has played just two domestic games ever since he suffered a thigh injury last October, is all set to return to action.

Likely XI:

MI: Parthiv Patel (wk), Rohit Sharma (c), Ambati Rayudu, Jos Buttler, Kieron Pollard, Krunal Pandya, Hardik Pandya, Harbhajan Singh, Mitchell Johnson, R Vinay Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah.

RPS: Ajinkya Rahane, Faf du Plessis, Steven Smith (c), MS Dhoni (wk), Ben Stokes, Manoj Tiwary, Rajat Bhatia, Shardul Thakur, Jaydev Unadkat, Ashok Dinda, Imran Tahir.

(With inputs from Syed Qaiser)