It is the grand finale of the tenth Indian Premier League (IPL) and Firstpost presents you a special edition of Gameplan with noted cricket expert Ayaz Memon to discuss the marquee match.
Mumbai Indians have been one of the most dominant teams this season, but have struggled whenever they have come up against Rising Pune Supergiant. Pune have lost only once in two seasons of the IPL to their Maharashtra rivals and have notched up a hat-trick of victories against Mumbai this year. Mumbai have their task cut out.
"Clearly, Mumbai have to show that this is an anomaly, because they have beaten all the other teams, but against Pune they seem to run into some kind of an obstacle. If it is a serious mental block, then it becomes bit of a problem for Mumbai," Memon says, adding that Pune will start as the underdogs today.
On the agenda of discussion was also Mumbai's phenomenal bowling. Jasprit Bumrah has been fantastic for Mumbai this season. Not only did he help Mumbai defend 11 runs in a super over against the likes of Brendon McCullum and Aaron Finch of Gujarat Lions in the group stage, he was phenomenal against Kolkata Knight Riders in the second Qualifier too, going at the rate of a measly 2.33 runs in his three overs. Not only Bumrah, Mitchell McClenaghan, Mitchell Johnson, Karn Sharma, the Pandya brothers and Harbhajan Singh have put up strong performances.
Pune, though, have not been far behind, and in spite of the absence of Imran Tahir and Ben Stokes for the final, they still have considerable fuel in their tank. Jayadev Unadkat has been right on the money, especially at the 'death' and a fifer in the final will make him the highest wicket-taker in the tournament and win him the Purple Cap. He has been well-supported by the likes of Dan Christian, Shardul Thakur, and Washington Sundar, who put up a Man of the Match showing in the win over Mumbai in the first Qualifier on Tuesday. In fact, a measure of how good Pune have bowled is that they have taken most wickets in the middle (7-15) overs.
The batting of both teams look strong. Kieron Pollard and Rohit Sharma will be the batsmen to watch out for from Mumbai, while the spotlight will be on Ajinkya Rahane and MS Dhoni from Pune.
Indeed any discussion on Pune would have been incomplete without a discussion on MS Dhoni. "What more does Dhoni have to show to prove he is one of the all-time greats?" asks Memon. "Dhoni is a very vital cog for Pune, there is no doubt about it. In the second half of the tournament he has looked more of his old self, and therefore, he is more of a potent threat to Mumbai," Memon adds.
"The business end of the tournament needs one rousing, close contest," Memon says. Hopefully, the match lives up to its expectation.
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Updated Date: May 21, 2017 20:10:35 IST