Rising Pune Supergiants shall lock horns against Mumbai Indians in the finals of the IPL later on Sunday evening at Hyderabad.
While Rising Pune Supergiants shall have their sights on winning their first IPL crown, the finals shall also be a landmark of sorts for one of the legends of IPL who shall be featuring in his seventh IPL final. It does not take much guessing as to who were are referring to as the 'IPL Legend'. Mahendra Singh Dhoni who powered Chennai Super Kings to a record six IPL finals shall now feature in yet another summit clash for the Pune Supergiants. It was Dhoni would swung the match away from Mumbai Indians in the first qualifiers and lead his team to their maiden IPL finals. Steven Smith shall again look towards 'Mahi' to replicate those heroics in the summit clash.
Rising Pune Supergiants have undoubtedly been the comeback story of this IPL. Rising Pune Supergiants completely turned the tables this season after a dismal 2016 when they finished at the bottom of the table. The story looked pretty similar for the 'Pink and Purple Brigade' this year when they were languishing at the bottom of the table midway during the league stages. All seemed over for Pune as they were plagued by a string of inconsistent performances with the bat and dint find a way to resolve their death bowling woes. While there were flashes of brilliance by skipper Steven Smith and Ajinkya Rahane, young turk Rahul Tripathi proving his pedigree with the willow, Proteas leggie Imran Tahir casting a web around most of the opponents, the form of their ace all-rounder Ben Stokes and ace finisher MS Dhoni proved to be a bigger headache to the team's cause.
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Staring at a possible exit from the tournament, Pune looked desperate to turn around their campaign. The inclusion of Jaydev Undakat and Washington Sundar bolstered their pace attack which was leaking runs a plenty during the initial games. Meanwhile Ben Stokes also proved his Rs 14.5 crore price tag by making some handy contributions with bat and ball. Now all eyes were set at how the big match performer MS Dhoni fares after having a rather lackluster season.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni proved to all his critics that he was far from over in the first qualifier against Mumbai Indians. Dhoni who has proven his forte as a match winner par excellence in the past took center stage and revived his team's fortunes. Dhoni in his typical calm and cool demeanor started off on a cautious note against Mumbai Indians getting a measure of the wicket and MI's pace attack. When he got his eye in, we came up with a array of belligerent shots to produce a game changing cameo that altered the course of the match. His 46 off 20 deliveries were studded with five power packed sixes and reminded many of the vintage Mahi.
Mahi has produced some spectacular knocks with amazing consistency over a period of time. He has been instrumental in Chennai's stupendous success in the IPL both as an able leader, master tactician and ace finisher. Dhoni indeed has the midas touch in taking his team across the line when the team needs him the most. Will Dhoni prove to be the stumbling block in Mumbai Indians' bid to win a third title. It is all to be seen in the finals which unfolds later at Hyderabad on Sunday.