A batting-heavy Rising Pune Supergiant would look to return to winning ways when they take on Delhi Daredevils in an Indian Premier League on Tuesday at 8pm.
It is still early days in the 10th edition of IPL and Rising Pune Supergiant had a mixed outing so far with a win and loss from two games they have played so far. While Pune got off their campaign on a rousing note by defeating Mumbai Indians by seven wickets at home, they slumped to a 6-wicket defeat against Kings XI Punjab in their next outing in Indore.
With the likes of in-form Steven Smith, Ajinkya Rahane, costliest player of IPL Ben Stokes, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Manoj Tiwary in its rank, batting is considered the strongest aspect for the Pune side. Rahane, Smith and Stokes have been among runs but Pune would be worried about the form of opener Mayank Agarwal and Dhoni in particular.
While Rahane made 66 and 19 in the first two games, Smith wast the architect of Pune's win in their tournament opener with an 86-run knock. The Australia captain, however, failed to sizzle in the next game scoring just 26. Stokes, who made 21 in the first game, rescued the Pune side against Kings XI in the company of Manoj Tiwary. While Stokes made a valuable 50, Tiwary scored a quick fire unbeaten 40.
But it is Pune's bowling attack which lacks bite. Ashok Dinda, Daniel Christian and Stokes looked ordinary with the new ball and if they are to make a mark in the tournament, the trio need to fire in unison with the ball. The stand-out performer for Pune with the ball has been South African leg-spinner Imran Tahir, who picked up three and two wickets respectively in the first two games.
But Tahir desperately needs support from the other end.
Delhi Set for Second Game
The Daredevils, on the other hand, lost by 15 runs against Royal Challengers Bangalore in the only game they had played in the tournament so far. Despite restricting RCB to 157 for eight, Daredevils batting line-up failed to chase down the target, managing 142 for nine wickets in their allotted 20 overs.
Led by the experienced Zaheer Khan, Daredevils bowlers were right on their money against RCB. Both Zaheer (2/31), Chris Morris (3/21) and Pat Cummins (1/29) were impressive with the new ball, while domestic season's highest wicket taker, left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem (1/13) shone in the middle overs. The 158-run target should have been an easy chase for Daredevils but their top-order -- Aditya Tare, Sam Billings, Karun Nair and Sanju Samson -- fumbled.
Young Rishabh Pant, who showed nerves of steel, top-scored for Daredevils with a 36-ball 57 days after losing his father. All-rounders Morris and Craig Brathwaite, however, need to fire down the order to make Daredevils a force to reckon with in the tournament.
Rising Pune Supergiant:
Steven Smith (capt), MS Dhoni, Ajinkya Rahane, Ben Stokes, Faf du Plessis, Usman Khawaja, Manoj Tiwary, Mayank Agarwal, Ankit Sharma, Baba Aparajith, Ankush Bains, Rajat Bhatia, Deepak Chahar, Rahul Chahar, Daniel Christian, Ashok Dinda, Lockie Ferguson, Jaskaran Singh, Saurabh Kumar, Milind Tandon, Jaydev Unadkat, Adam Zampa.
Zaheer Khan (capt), Mohammad Shami, Shahbaz Nadeem, Jayant Yadav, Amit Mishra, Shreyas Iyer, Sanju Samson, Karun Nair, Rishabh Pant, CV Milind, Khaleel Ahmed, Pratyush Singh, Murugan Ashwin, Aditya Tare, Shashank Singh, Ankit Bawane, Navdeep Saini, Corey Anderson, Angelo Mathews, Pat Cummins, Kagiso Rabada, Chris Morris, Carlos Brathwaite, Sam Billings.
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