One year after their debacle in the debut season, Rising Pune Supergiants are a changed lot with Aussie skipper Steve Smith at the helm in place of Mahendra Singh Dhoni, inclusion of all-rounder Ben Stokes, Indian middle-order batsman Manoj Tiwary and few more but they find themselves in a pretty much similar situation this year as well.
The season started on a high with a morale-boosting victory over Mumbai Indians but since then, they have been able to add just one more victory to their kitty in next four matches. They would like to set the record straight when they play defending champions Sunrisers Hyderabad at Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium on Saturday.
Selecting a good-playing XI has been like a riddle for Stephen Fleming coached side and it remains to be seen when he would be able to solve that. Let us solve another riddle, that of predicting the final XI for RPS.
Openers: Ajinkya Rahane and Rahul Tripathi
Rahul Tripathi has been one of the rare positives for RPS in an otherwise dull campaign. The uncapped Indian has batted fearlessly at top of the order and this is one of the major reasons behind his success in the tournament. On the other hand, Rahane is one of those players whose name is a surety in the line-up. Hence, the opening pair is set to remain unchanged.
— RisingPuneSupergiant (@RPSupergiants) April 21, 2017
Middle Order: Steve Smith, MS Dhoni (WK), Manoj Tiwary
The Aussie skipper Steve Smith is set to opt for an unchanged middle-order as that is going to be the best combination for his team combination. The skipper has been in good form in the matches he has played so far and Manoj Tiwary has also grabbed the opportunities whenever he has got them.
The notable out-of-form player in this middle order is former captain MS Dhoni, who seems to be going through the worst form of his life. However, a player like him just needs one innings to turn things around and tomorrow can be that day. So, the middle order looks to remain unchanged for this fixture.
All-rounder: Ben Stokes, Daniel Christian
Steve Smith has been favouring T20 specialist Daniel Christian over other all-rounders and the Aussie did not do very bad in the last game. Although he failed with the bat, he gave away just 26 runs in his four overs and in a team where bowling is not very strong, he is expected to get the nod. Ben Stokes, on the other hand, showed glimpses of his capabilities against RCB and there is no doubt over his place in the squad.
Spinners: Imran Tahir, Rahul Chahar
World No. 1 T20 spinner Imran Tahir and young Rahul Chahar are expected to be a part of the spin bowling department. The duo did well in the last game against RCB, restricting the opposition from scoring free runs. So, Steve Smith is not expected to tinker with the duo.
— RisingPuneSupergiant (@RPSupergiants) April 17, 2017
Fast Bowlers: Shardul Thakur, Jaidev Unadkat
Both Thakur and Unadkat did exceptionally well to contain the powerful RCB batting line-up and that will act in their favour when Smith and Fleming decide the final XI. The players have impressed in whatever limited opportunities they have got so far and that means they are expected to be given another go.
So, we have opted for an unchanged RPS squad this evening. It remains to be seen how close we get to the actual one.
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