It thus appears to be the ideal final.
On paper, Pune have the upper hand, considering that the Steve Smith-led side defeated Mumbai thrice in this season, including a comprehensive 20-run win in the crucial first qualifier earlier this week. But fact is, the match is much more than that.
The tenth season of IPL is all set to end with a bang as the Maharashtrian teams gear up to fight each other for the first time in a final.
Champions in 2013 and 2015, Mumbai boast big-hitting West Indian Kieron Pollard and New Zealand fast bowler Mitchell McClenaghan among their ranks – although the latter missed the last game due to injury and remains doubtful. They need to perform well in this one if they want to lift the trophy. And whatever the strategy might have been, they benched Harbhajan Singh too.
Overall: It’s 4-1 to Rising Pune Supergiant. But the captains, Smith and Rohit, sought to play down the head-to-head record between the teams.
“It was a little bit slow”. Goenka followed up on the comment about Dhoni’s cerebral faculties with one more in sync with a team that has won nine of its last 11 games and are in Sunday’s final of IPL 10 here.
Great to have played the way we have. They also have Pandya brother in form of two good allrounders.
“It’s just good communication between the two of them”. But it was good that we bowled well from the start and got wickets. If all those things have been looked after, results will take care of itself. “You need to concentrate on the process rather than thinking too far ahead”.
But against the run of play, Nathan Coulter-Nile bagged the key wicket of Rohit Sharma, who pulled a short ball straight into the hands of deep square leg to perish for 26.
Karn Sharma gets the Man of the Match award for that brilliant spell of 4/16 that broke Kolkata’s back. It was an important game, so my mindset was to take wickets and bowl them out early.
Pune does not have a very deep batting line-up though Daniel Christian and Adam Zampa can blow some biggies if in the arc.
Ajinkya Rahane 56 (43) and Manoj Tiwary 58 (48) then build Pune’s inning but the scoring rate was so low that even 130 looked a distant task. The Bengal batsman has been a steady provider of runs in the middle order and has often pulled the team out of a crisis. Tripathi has been a revelation with 388 runs in 13 matches this season, and is behind Smith who has made 421 runs in 14 matches. All other teams have conceded more than eight an over. Imagine what today’s IPL final would have been with Pune’s Ben Stokes around.
Two-time champions Mumbai now meet the Rising Pune Supergiants, coached by former Black Caps skipper Stephen Fleming, in the final on Sunday (Monday NZT).
But the team showed in the first qualifier against Mumbai that it is not a one-man army after young spinner Washington Sundar turned out to be the unlikely hero with his match-winning haul of three wickets.
He said Steve Smith has been instrumental to RPS’s success this term.
Mumbai were pretty average on the field all through the season and put up below par fielding displays all through the season. When Englishman Jos Buttler left for national duty, Mumbai got the hard-hitting West Indian Lendl Simmons as the opening partner with stumper Parthiv Patel. In comparison, Mumbai thrashed 29 sixes against Kings XI after only two meetings, and 47 fours after three rounds against Knight Riders.