After having started their season with a win against the Mumbai Indians, the Steve Smith-led side slipped down the points table as they could not get their team combination right. However, they are in the midst of a resurgence and are in with a good chance of qualifying for the playoffs.
They are in the midst of a mid-table jostle and a bunch of victories would hold them in great stead considering the fact that barring the top two teams none of the teams has pulled away from the group.
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As they take on Royal Challengers Bangalore, Pune should ideally go in with this team:
The young man has been one of the positives for Pune this season and his fearless stroke-making at the top of the order has taken a lot of pressure away from Ajinkya Rahane and his audacious approach against the new ball has been a pleasant surprise for everyone concerned.
Also, he is a very reliable fielder and can roll his arm across if and when the situation demands. A real find this season!
The unassuming Rahane has shown promise but has not quite played the crucial innings which could define the season for Pune. Like always, his stroke making exudes class and so much promise but it has not gone on for long enough to have any substantial influence on the game. Now when the season enters the business phase, he needs to step up and make his presence felt.
The Australian captain has made India his home this season and he looks in sublime form even during this IPL. He walks in at number 3 and more often than not bats through the innings. He has the game to pick up the gaps and then towards the end.
However, one feels as if Smith needs to step up during the middle overs and boost his strike rate which will only benefit the team towards the team.
Ever since Dhoni has been pushed up the order for Pune, he has looked to be in the groove and has started playing more freely. However, as has been this season for Pune, he has not managed to leave any impression on the match save the match against the Sunrisers Hyderabad.
He has to now buckle down and mute all his detractors once and for all as his team needs their most experienced player to have a more profound influence on the game.
The veteran is having a great season for Pune, but then is not getting enough chances to bat for a longer time and the management should look at options to allow him to play a major chunk of the 20 overs as he is the man in form for Pune.
The big-hitting Australian has been a welcome addition to the team and adds so much depth to their batting and then can come back and bowl the heavy ball which hustles the batsmen.
Also, he is a very safe fielder and thus becomes a vital cog in the Pune scheme of things.
The young man was drafted into the squad in place of Ravichandran Ashwin and has impressed with his sedate performances with the ball. He generally starts off with the new ball and keeps it very simple early on. He bowls wicket-to-wicket and asks questions of the batsmen with subtle variations in line and length.
He has not yet got his chance to display his potential with the bat, but he has the ability to hold his own with the willow.
Pune’s bowling has not quite held its own so far in the tournament and this where Lockie Ferguson, the young tearaway quick from New Zealand can come in and contribute with the ball and ease some of the pressure on the other bowlers.
The Mumbai pacer is having a decent run with the ball but has not quite picked up wickets with the new ball and this has added pressure to the Pune side. However, he has enough quality to get into the wicket’s column and thus Pune should be more patient with him and give him the new ball.
The leading bowler in T20 has shown the world why he is one of the best in the business. He comes in after the powerplay and invariably picks up wickets in the middle overs.
Pune should now look to use him both in the powerplay and then towards the end overs as he has the ability to pick up wickets.
The young lanky left-arm seam bowler has been on the expensive for his team so far but then Pune would want to persist with him for one more match as he can pick you wickets with the new ball and then come back with the older one with quite a few variations.