Ajinkya Rahane, who averages 23.44 in IPL 2017 so far, will look to get a big one when Rising Pune Supergiant take on Gujarat Lions on Monday.(BCCI)
Ajinkya Rahane, who averages 23.44 in IPL 2017 so far, will look to get a big one when Rising Pune Supergiant take on Gujarat Lions on Monday.(BCCI)

Rising Pune Supergiant seek first IPL win over Gujarat Lions

Steve Smith’s Rising Pune Supergiant, who have five wins from nine games in IPL 2017 so far, will take on Gujarat Lions - a team they are yet to defeat in the cash-rich league.
Hindustan Times, Pune | By Harit Joshi
UPDATED ON APR 30, 2017 10:01 PM IST

Monday’s Indian Premier League match between Rising Pune Supergiant and Gujarat Lions at the MCA Stadium is probably their final contest, considering this is their final year in the cash-rich T20 tournament.

Rising Pune Supergiant and Gujarat Lions came in place of Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals, who were suspended for two years by the Supreme Court-appointed Justice RM Lodha Committee.

(Read | MS Dhoni played big role in Rising Pune Supergiant’s turnaround: Steve Smith)

Seeking first win

The Steve Smith-led Rising Pune Supergiant would look to finally open their account against Gujarat Lions with a win. In their previous three encounters, Suresh Raina’s Gujarat Lions have come out dominant over Rising Pune Supergiant.

The confidence of Steve Smith’s team is on a high after a thumping 61-run win over Royal Challengers Bangalore on Saturday. It was their third win defending a sub-par total, which will give them confidence.

(Read | IPL 2017: Lockie Ferguson goes from zero to hero for Rising Pune Supergiant)

Smith and Co seem to have picked up late momentum with four wins in their last five matches. While RPS is still over-reliant on Smith in the batting department, other batsmen are also steadily chipping in.

Rahane’s patchy form

Ajinkya Rahane’s form remains a major concern for Pune Supergiant as the India batsman has scored just 211 runs in nine matches at an average of 23.44. Since his half-century in the IPL 10 opener against Mumbai Indians, Rahane’s form has been patchy and his innings haven’t been as fluent as would be expected.

Although Rahane has insisted he is happy with the way he is bating, the inconsistencies in his scores portray a different picture. Rahane has been overshadowed by his young opening partner Rahul Tripathi, who has notched 30-plus scores in his last six innings – a first in IPL. Most of the times, Tripathi with his clean-hitting has made up for the poor strike rate of Rahane.

Tye ruled out

Just as Gujarat Lions seemed to be getting into the groove, skipper Suresh Raina has been jolted by another injury blow.

Already without the services of key all-rounder Dwayne Bravo, Gujarat Lions will miss key Aussie pacer Andrew Tye, who has been ruled out of the tournament with a dislocated shoulder.

(Read | Gujarat Lions v Mumbai Indians, IPL: GL were 30-40 runs short, says Suresh Raina)

Tye, who claimed a five-wicket haul, including a hattrick, on his IPL debut after being on the bench for 34 IPL games, dislocated his left shoulder while fielding on the boundary during their loss against Mumbai Indians on Saturday at Rajkot.

“The shoulder popped out of the socket and remained out for a while. They put it back in at the hospital. The extent of the damage is still unknown. I will be flying home in the next couple of days to figure that out. As for the recovery time, I am not too sure at the moment, but hopefully it’s not too long,” Tye said in a statement.

Gujarat Lions are hurting as they come into this match, having lost to Mumbai Indians in IPL-10’s maiden Super Over.

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