Mumbai, May 15: Rising Pune Supergiant (RSP) will be locking horns with table toppers Mumbai Indians in the first Qualifier of the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) 2017 here on Tuesday (May 16).
RPS defeated Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) by 9 wickets in the must win game on Sunday (May 14) and catapulted themselves to the second spot in the points table.
Pune put up a clinical performance against a resurgent Punjab as they restricted the latter to 73 and registered an emphatic win chasing a paltry target.
It was an all-round show by Steve Smith and his men who will now face Mumbai at their den i.e. Wankhede Stadium. (MI likely XI against RPS)
Despite remaining at second spot, Pune would take confidence with the fact that they have defeated Mumbai on both the occasions they have faced Rohit Sharma's men.
Pune, however, would be missing the services of their most successful player in the tournament i.e. all-rounder Ben Stokes.
The English all-rounder is one of the best performers of the IPL 10 for he has taken wickets, scored runs and took some exceptional catches. His absence would cost Pune dearly because it would take two players to replace one Ben Stokes.
Their pacers Jaydev Unadkat (21 wickets), Shardul Thakur (8 wickets) and Dan Christian (9 wickets) have been impressive and regularly taking wickets.
As for Mumbai, they would be hoping to improve their winning record against Pune. Table-toppers Mumbai would be eyeing to beat Pune in the Qualifier 1 to qualify to the final. Mumbai Indians outplayed the Kolkata Knight Riders in their last league match to secure the top spot.
On the other, Pune would be hoping to spoil Mumbai's hopes and continue their winning streak against them.
Here is the likely Playing XI of the RPS:
1. Usman Khawaja
The Australian opener was warming the benches during the season but in absence of Ben Stokes he will be opening the innings with Rahul Tripathi against Mumbai Indians.
2. Rahul Tripathi
Rahul Tripathi, the RPS opener, who has amassed 388 runs in the cash-rich T20 league, will need support from his opening partner.
3. Ajinkya Rahane
The senior RPS cricketer hasn't been in the best of form this IPL season. Rahane hasn't scored runs in the tournament and team would be hoping him to fire against Mumbai. If Khawaja opens the innings against MI, Rahane will have to bat at no.3.
4. Steve Smith (C)
The Pune skipper has been the leading run-getter for the side and team would be hoping he once again leads the team from the front.
5. MS Dhoni
The most experienced cricketer in the side didn't had the best of outings with his bat this season. But his excellence behind the stumps and valuable suggestions to the teammates has been vital.
In the absence of Ben Stokes team would hope Dhoni, who has been one of the best finishers in the game, does well with the bat as well.
6. Manoj Tiwary
The Bengal cricketer has done well in the tournament and team would be hoping similar performances from him. Tiwary has been scoring runs for RPS and would be eager to prove himself in Mumbai as well.
7. Dan Christian
The bowling all-rounder has done well with both bat as well as with the ball. Team would be expecting similar performances from him against Mumbai.
8. Shardul Thakur
The young pacer has impressed everyone with his bowling and team would be expecting similar performance from the man of the match from the previous match.
9. Adam Zampa
The Australian spinner would have to once again fill the void of their most successful spinner of the season i.e. Imran Tahir. Zampa would lead team's spin attack.
10. Washington Sundar
The young spinner has performed well and picked up wickets at crucial times. He has often bowled for the side in the powerplays and has been quite economical.
11. Jaydev Unadkat
The left-arm pacer has emerged as the second highest wicket-taker of the tournament as he has picked up 21 wickets from 10 games he has played. Undatkat has been a reason for Pune's success in the IPL and a lot would depend on his performance if team wants to perform well against Mumbai.
Pune Squad: Steve Smith (captain), Ajinkya Rahane, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wicketkeeper), Ashok Dinda, Faf du Plessis, Mayank Agarwal, Ankit Sharma, Baba Aparajith, Ankush Bains, Rajat Bhatia, Deepak Chahar, Rahul Chahar, Dan Christian, Lockie Ferguson, Imran Tahir, Jaskaran Singh, Usman Khawaja, Saurabh Kumar, Ben Stokes, Washington Sundar, Milind Tandon, Manoj Tiwary, Adam Zampa, Jaydev Unadkat, Ishwar Pandey, Rahul Tripathi, Shardul Thakur.