The Rising Pune Supergiants (RPS) slumped to yet another loss in the Indian Premier League (IPL) at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium as they were unable to defend a total of 159. Led by Rohit Sharma, the Mumbai Indians (MI) chased it down comfortably, with eight wickets and nine balls to spare.
MS Dhoni, the Pune captain, struggled while batting and only managed to score 24 off 24 balls. Adding to his list of woes was the injuries of Steve Smith and Mitchell Marsh. Previously, Pune had already lost Kevin Pietersen and Faf du Plessis to injury.
Speaking on Firstpost Gameplan, Ayaz Memon, aka Cricketwallah said, "Rising Supergiants are not rising at all. There is a combination of things going wrong for Dhoni and his men. One is of course the fact that they have been very badly hit by injuries. They chose Pietersen, du Plessis and Smith as their match winners and it's been a very big blow. Very difficult for them to recover from losing such key players."
"Secondly, Dhoni himself hasn't been in the best of form, especially with the bat. For the team, it's like wearing 200 kgs of weight around your ankles and trying to run," Memon added.
When RPS have batted first, they have been unable to set competitive targets and have also failed to defend whatever they put on the board. As a result, they are languishing at sixth in the rankings, having lost six of the eight matches played.
"In batting and bowling, they have been struggling. They have six matches remaining, and they have to at least win four for a mathematical chance to make it to the play-offs," he said.
Memon remarked that it's difficult for RPS to get replacements for such big names at the drop of a hat. "They have already got in Usman Khawaja. There has been talk that they are getting in George Bailey. Both of them have been in good form in the Big Bash and Bailey is familiar with the IPL. Perhaps they should look at someone from Bangladesh — like a Soumya Sarkar, or even from Afghanistan. This as great a chance as any for them to take an unknown entity and see what happens," Memon concluded.