Rising Pune Supergiant vs Mumbai Indians, IPL 2017 final: The five big clashes
Mumbai Indians will be eyeing a third Indian Premier League (IPL) title after they defeated Kolkata Knight Riders in Qualifier 2 in Bangalore on Friday to reach the final for the fourth time. However, they face an in-form Rising Pune Supergiant, who have notched up a hat-trick of wins against them in IPL 2017.
Steve Smith’s team will be eyeing a maiden title and they will head into the clash against Rohit Sharma’s side full of confidence. However, the title clash could bowl down to the contribution of some key players in the respective teams.
Here is a look at the key player battles:
1) Steve Smith vs Rohit Sharma
Two captains. Two players with maximum impact. When they are in form, Rohit and Smith have the capability to take the game away by themselves. The MI skipper though has had a modest IPL with 309 runs at an average of 23.76 while Smith has 421 runs at an average of close to 40. With Smith enjoying a consistent run, Rohit has one final chance to step up in a crucial situation. He showed glimpses of his best during Qualifier 2 against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), which will give him immense confidence.
2) Rahul Tripathi vs Parthiv Patel
The IPL 2017 has unearthed a gem in the form of Rahul Tripathi. The Rising Pune Supergiant opener has provided the team with attacking starts and his strike rate of close to 150 makes him a valuable player. Parthiv Patel, on the other hand, has been the lone bright spot for Mumbai Indians. In the last encounter between these two sides, Parthiv was the only Mumbai Indians batsman who stood tall with a fighting fifty and he will be the key again.
3) Kieron Pollard vs MS Dhoni
Both players are renowned finishers. Both have the ability to strike sixes at will. But both have had a patchy run in IPL 2017. The final offers both a chance to step up and play a defining role. Kieron Pollard has played some crucial knocks at the death for Mumbai Indians while MS Dhoni showed glimpses of his best with an attacking 26-ball 40 that gave Rising Pune Supergiant a hat-trick of wins over Mumbai Indians. The ability to play a match-winning knock on the big stage gives both players the X-factor.
4) Krunal Pandya vs Manoj Tiwary
Both players have become the sheet-anchors of their respective teams. While Krunal Pandya has built steady partnerships to revive the Mumbai Indians, Manoj Tiwary has been the calming influence in the middle order. Tiwary’s partnerships with Ajinkya Rahane and MS Dhoni in Qualifier 1 showed his worth. Krunal played with maturity to get Mumbai Indians over the line against Kolkata Knight Riders on a difficult pitch.
5) Jasprit Bumrah vs Jaydev Unadkat
Jasprit Bumrah is a proven death bowler and he will be eyeing redemption against Rising Pune Supergiant after being hit for two sixes by MS Dhoni in Qualifier 1. In Qualifier 2, the right-arm pacer bowled with the new ball and showed that he could be just as effective. Rising Pune Supergiant have a trump card in Jaydev Unadkat, who has chipped in with wickets at the start and at the death to become the second-highest wicket-taker with 22 scalps in 11 games.
(All images: Hitesh Mathur)