Despite an impressive start to IPL 2017 that saw them win their opening game against Mumbai Indians, Rising Pune Supergiant occupy the bottom spot in the standings as they have won just once more since then. That victory came against Royal Challengers Bangalore in their last game, where they managed to defend a modest total at the Chinnaswamy and end their bat first duck in the competition. They will look to continue on their winning ways when they take on the reigning IPL champions.
In the 24th match of IPL 2017, they take on Sunrisers Hyderabad at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune. Here is the possible playing XI for Steve Smith’s side –
Ajinkya Rahane will probably admit that he hasn’t lived up to his lofty standards in this year’s IPL despite scoring a fifty in the game against MI. Since then he has just scored 49 runs in four matches, something he will be looking to change as they take on Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Rahul Tripathi is not a name that many would have been familiar with before the start of this year’s tournament. Ever since he came into the side in place of Mayank Agarwal, he has been a revelation for the side. He already has two thirties and has got Pune off to a flyer and he will want to continue that against SRH.
Steve Smith has been Mr. Consistent for Pune so far this season, even if he hasn’t scored a fifty since his unbeaten 84 in the opener against MI. He has been amongst the runs and is leading from the front with the willow in hand. Pune will need their captain to fire on all cylinders against one of the best bowling attacks in the competition.
Manoj Tiwary has been the surprise package for Pune so far. He has looked in complete control at the crease and has shown a side to his game that few knew existed. He has provided the final flourish that the innings has required and it was his knock that proved to be the difference between a win and a loss against RCB.
MS Dhoni hasn’t had a great tournament so far with the bat. Even if he is still the best keeper in the world and not just the competition, his form with the bat is a concern especially since he is batting at No.4. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise if an in-form Tiwary is sent ahead of him in the batting order.
Ben Stokes had big shoes to fill after he became the most expensive player in the IPL Auction 2017. So far, he has shown plenty of promise and barring the game against RCB where he picked up crucial wickets and won them the game, he hasn’t made the impact that would’ve been expected of him. He will want to change that and kick on from his impressive performance against RCB.
Daniel Christian affords Pune the option of going with an Indian spinner and the luxury of extra depth in both the batting and bowling department. So expect him to continue, especially against SRH who have three left-handers in the top five which might dissuade Smith from picking Adam Zampa as the foreigner.
Imran Tahir may not have been picked during IPL Auction 2017 but barring the game against Gujarat Lions, where he was carted to all corners of the ground, the leg-spinner has been in sublime form for Pune. He has picked up a wicket in each match of the season so far and has eight wickets in five matches.
Rahul Chahar may only be 17 but has already shown composure and control well beyond his years. The leg-spinner has formed a potent combination with Tahir and will look to continue to be among the wickets against SRH.
Jaydev Unadkat was finally drafted into the Pune side for the game against RCB and the left-arm pacer made an immediate impact as he picked up 2/25. The 25-year-old fast bowler not only provides control but also variety in the bowling attack which is dominated by right-arm pacers. Expect him to continue to take his place in the side and impress even more.
Shardul Thakur may have only played two games in the season so far, but he has already shown plenty of control for Pune, something they lacked with Ashok Dinda. The 25-year-old fast bowler may not seem like your archetypal T20 bowler but he has shown that he has all the tricks in the book that one needs to succeed.