Things are working out pretty well in this year’s IPL for Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS). After a string of losses in the first half of the tournament, it looked as though RPS would be spending a lot of time at the bottom of the points table. But, the Steve Smith-led side have turned things around nicely. Almost four weeks into the competition and they sit quite comfortably at fourth position with six wins in ten games.
The RPS camp must be really confident about their chances of making it to the playoffs at this stage, particularly after an impressive win against Gujarat Lions (GL). Despite losing four wickets in quick succession, they held their nerves and registered an important win as they chased down 161.
Skipper Steve Smith continues to score runs on Indian soil. While Rahul Tripathi has been a surprise package for RPS, the likes of Jaydev Unadkat and Shardul Thakur have handled their responsibilities quite impressively. And with Ben Stokes coming into his zone, both with bat and ball, the Pune-based franchise look a very good side and are in contention for their berth in the playoffs.
However, their task will be cut out as they are up against Kolkata Knight Riders, who are currently placed second in the league table. KKR will be hurting after an embarrassing defeat at the hands of SRH and will come out all guns blazing. RPS should be at their best if they want to beat them on their home ground. It promises to be a thriller of a game as two in-form teams lock horns, both vying for two crucial points as we head into the business end of the competition.
But, what will be combinations of the teams? Will RPS stick their winning combination from last game or will they make changes as they up against a good batting side in KKR? Let’s don the hat of selectors and look at the possible eleven for RPS for today’s game.
Also read: Probable KKR playing 11 against RPS
Ajinkya Rahane has not been at his best lately. The right-hander has scored 215 runs in ten games in this edition of the IPL so far. His partner Rahul Tripathi’s success at the top has masked his failures to some extent. But Rahane will need to find his form sooner than later. He is a class player and RPS will bank on him to get them off to a good start against the quality bowling side of KKR.
Rahul Tripathi has been a revelation this season for RPS. The attacking opener has grabbed the opportunity with both hands and has impressed everyone with his shot-making ability. He had a failure in the last game against GL, but he has been very consistent otherwise. RPS would hope that he keeps contributing the same way.
Steve Smith has been as consistent as ever. The RPS skipper averages 46.28 and has been striking it at the rate of 136.7. The classy right-hander is one of the best players of spin bowling and he will hold the key for RPS as KKR have three quality spinners in Sunil Narine, Kuldeep Yadav and Piyush Chawla.
Manoj Tiwary has been an important cog in RPS’s batting. He has played few important knocks this season and RPS will depend on him to play another cameo against KKR. Tiwary, who plays for West Bengal, will be batting on his home ground today and will have to contribute with the bat.
Ben Stokes showed why he is rated so highly in the last game as he smashed a scintillating hundred that won the game for RPS. He has bowled pretty well all through the season but his hundred will give him a lot of confidence and he will look to have an impact with the bat once again.
M S Dhoni has blown hot and cold so far in this year’s IPL. Apart from his match-winning effort against SRH, the former Indian skipper has struggled to make significant contributions. His struggles in the middle overs is a cause of concern for RPS. But, the experienced wicket-keeper batsman is genuine match-winner on his day and RPS will hope that today is his day.
Daniel Christian has been very good this season. The Australian all-rounder has scored important runs with the bat in the death overs and has also bowled his full quota of overs for the major part. He is will be crucial once again as RPS look to inch closer to a spot in the playoffs.
Washington Sundar has handled his role pretty well. Bowling in the power play, the teenager has been quite impressive. He has provided the control that has been asked for and RPS will expect him to support Imran Tahir once again.
Imran Tahir continues to impress. As he has done so often for South Africa, he has provided crucial breakthroughs in the middle overs for RPS. There are quite a few right-handers in KKR’s batting line up and that should aid his bowling style. Tahir will be expected to get few wickets early to put the untested KKR middle-order under pressure.
Jaydev Unadkat has done a great job for RPS. The left-arm pacer has taken wickets consistently and also been economical. He seems to be in good form with the ball and will look to get more wickets in today’s contest.
Shardul Thakur has also been quite consistent with the ball. Though he doesn’t have the same number of wickets to his name as others, he has provided good control and has ably supported Unadkat and Stokes who have taken the bulk of wickets for RPS.