We’re at the business end of the 2017 Indian Premier League [IPL] and in Qualifier 1, we get to see the top two teams of the league stage – Mumbai Indians and Rising Pune Supergiant – face off against each other at the Wankhede Stadium.
The IPL uses a system where it rewards teams that finish higher in the league stage which means that Mumbai and Pune will get a chance to qualify for the final even if they lose Tuesday’s match.
While the winner goes directly to the final, the loser of this game will face the winner of the Eliminator between Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kolkata Knight Riders, who finished third and fourth respectively.
Mumbai had a brilliant time in the league stage of the tournament as they won 10 out of their 14 matches, but two of their losses came against their opponent in this game.
Pune had hosted Mumbai in the second match of the season and a magnificent innings from captain Steve Smith saw the Supergiant win the game by seven wickets as they chased down a target of 185.
In the reverse fixture, a superb bowling display saw Pune defend 160 in a match where Mumbai looked to be in control for the most part.
Ahead of the match, we have the latest team news, start time and date, as well as how you can watch all the action from the UAE.
DATE, TIME, VENUE INFO
Date: May 16, 2017 (Tuesday)
Time: 18:30 GST, 20:00 local time (IST), 14:30 GMT
Venue: Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai
WHERE TO WATCH, LIVE STREAMING INFO
TV: UAE – OSN Sports Cricket HD, India – Sony Six, Sony Six HD (English), Sony Max, Sony Max HD 3 (Hindi), UK – Sky Sports
Online streaming: hotstar.com, Hotstar app (in India only)
TEAM NEWS, SQUADS, PREDICTED XIs
MI SQUAD: Rohit Sharma, Kieron Pollard, Lasith Malinga, Hardik Pandya, Parthiv Patel, Harbhajan Singh, Ambati Rayudu, Jasprit Bumrah, Shreyas Gopal, Lendl Simmons, R Vinay Kumar, Mitchell McClenaghan, J Suchith, Siddhesh Lad, Jos Buttler, Nitish Rana, Tim Southee, Jitesh Sharma, Krunal Pandya, Deepak Punia, Nicholas Pooran, Mitchell Johnson, K Gowtham, Karn Sharma, Saurabh Tiwary, Asela Gunaratne, Kulwant Khejroliya.
Unless forced due to injuries, Mumbai have rarely made changes to their playing XI and that has definitely been one of the biggest reasons for their success.
With Jos Buttler having left for England duty, the opening responsibility will once again fall on the shoulders of Lendl Simmons. The West Indian batsman has shown good form, having scored two fifties in four innings this season.
It’ll be interesting to see if Mumbai decide to use the services of Karn Sharma for this game. Whenever the Indian leg-spinner has got an opportunity, he has performed well – taking eight wickets in six matches.
But if Karn has to play, then one of Harbhajan Singh or Krunal Pandya will have to warm the bench and that is unlikely to happen.
On the other hand, Ambati Rayudu returned to the Mumbai line-up against Kolkata Knight Riders, having sat out for 12 matches. He put in an impressive performance, notching up a half-century and was named the Player of the Match.
If Rayudu is included in the line-up, then we might see Nitish Rana missing out. Rana started the season in fabulous form, even holding the Orange Cap for a bit, but his form has seen a dip in the second half of the tournament.
PREDICTED MI XI: Patel (wk), Simmons, Rana/Rayudu, Rohit (c), Pollard, Krunal, Hardik, Harbhajan, McClenaghan, Bumrah, Malinga.
RPS SQUAD: MS Dhoni, Ajinkya Rahane, Steve Smith, Faf du Plessis, Ashok Dinda, Ankush Bains, Rajat Bhatia, Ankit Sharma, Ishwar Pandey, Adam Zampa, Jaskaran Singh, Baba Aparajith, Deepak Chahar, Usman Khawaja, Mayank Agarwal, Ben Stokes, Jaydev Unadkat, Rahul Chahar, Saurabh Kumar, Dan Christian, Milind Tandon, Rahul Tripathi, Manoj Tiwary, Lockie Ferguson, Shardul Thakur, Imran Tahir, Washington Sundar.
Pune have been dealt a huge blow as star all-rounder Ben Stokes has left the IPL to join the England team ahead of their ODI series against South Africa.
With 316 runs and 12 wickets this season, Stokes was one of the key reasons that Pune managed to qualify for the playoffs after a poor start to the season.
Having also lost the services of Imran Tahir last week due to similar reasons, Pune will be without two of their most important overseas players for this match.
The Pune-based franchise have the option of either going with Usman Khawaja or Lockie Ferguson to replace Stokes. Ferguson, being a fast bowler, is more likely to get the nod, especially considering he was named the Player of the Match in the last game he played this season.
PREDICTED RPS XI: Rahane, Tripathi, Smith (c), Tiwary, Dhoni, Christian, Sundar, Thakur, Ferguson, Unadkat, Zampa.
(Last five matches – with latest match first)
MI: W L L W W
RPS: W L W W W
A playoff match such as this is a tough one to predict as both teams have been playing really well. Although Pune got the better of Mumbai in both their encounters in the league stage, the latter go into this game as favourites.
With home advantage on Mumbai’s side and Pune missing Stokes, we’re inclined to predict a win for Rohit Sharma and co.
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