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Rising Pune Supergiant eye IPL 2017 playoffs in clash against Delhi Daredevils

Rising Pune Supergiant, who are currently second in the IPL 2017 points table, will be aiming to seal a spot in the play-offs when they take on Delhi Daredevils.

ipl-2017 Updated: May 11, 2017 20:47 IST
Rising Pune Supergiant will be eyeing a berth in the IPL 2017 playoffs when they face Delhi Daredevils at the Ferozshah Kotla Stadium in New Delhi on Friday.
Rising Pune Supergiant will be eyeing a berth in the IPL 2017 playoffs when they face Delhi Daredevils at the Ferozshah Kotla Stadium in New Delhi on Friday.(AFP)

What a difference one year makes. In IPL 2016, Rising Pune Supergiant, ravaged by injuries to key players, just escaped finishing with the wooden spoon. In IPL 2017, after a minor tweak in their name and a major change in terms of captaincy, Rising Pune Supergiant are currently second in the points table. Victory in one of their remaining games will seal a spot for them in the playoffs. (IPL 2017 FULL COVERAGE)

Their first step in ‘Mission Playoff’ will be the encounter against Delhi Daredevils at the Ferozeshah Kotla on Friday. Not only will Steve Smith’s team be eyeing a place in the playoffs, they will also be seeking revenge for their crushing 97-run loss at the start of the tournament when Sanju Samson blasted the tournament’s first century.

Rising Pune Supergiant gather momentum

After a break of five days, Smith’s team head into this match refreshed and high on confidence, having won four consecutive matches. The heartening thing for Rising Pune Supergiant was that two of these wins came at home while two of the away wins came against Kolkata Knight Riders at Eden Gardens and Sunrisers Hyderabad in Uppal, both teams who are in the top four.

READ | Ben Stokes, Rising Pune Supergiant’s driving force for IPL 2017 playoffs

Rising Pune Supergiant will also be pleased about contributions from other players, apart from Smith, MS Dhoni, Imran Tahir and Ben Stokes. Lockie Ferguson stole the show with a haul of 2/7 against Royal Challengers Bangalore while Rahul Tripathi continued his amazing form at the top with 93 against KKR. Jaydev Unadkat stole the show by capturing 5/30 against Sunrisers Hyderabad, including a hattrick.

The performance of all these players, combined with the class and experience of Smith, Dhoni, Stokes and Ajinkya Rahane make Rising Pune Supergiant overwhelming favourites against an unpredictable Delhi Daredevils, who are no longer in the hunt for the playoffs.

Delhi Daredevils - Inconsistent and volatile

Delhi Daredevils will head into the match having won two of their last three games. Yet, they are out of the playoffs. Zaheer Khan’s team paid the price for losing five consecutive games at the start of IPL 2017. This has been their story throughout the decade of IPL – inconsistent and volatile at crucial times.

READ | David Warner, Steve Smith may not play in IPL again. Here’s why

In their last four games, barring the 146-run thumping against Mumbai Indians, Delhi Daredevils have shown plenty of grit and their batsmen have led the way. Against defending champions Sunrisers Hyderabad, all the top order batsmen chipped in, and in the high-scoring encounter against Gujarat Lions, Rishabh Pant’s 97 and Samson’s brilliant 61 helped chase down 209. In the clash in Kanpur against Suresh Raina’s side on Wednesday, Shreyas Iyer’s 96 helped chase down 196.

Batsmen will once again play a big part on a Kotla deck that has provided high scores in IPL 2017. The venue has seen three scores of over 200 and three scores of 180-plus in IPL 2017 and it is expected to be the same in this match.

First Published: May 11, 2017 19:09 IST

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