IPL Final: Can Mumbai Indians break the jinx against Pune?

Hyderabad is all set to witness the two Maharashtra heavyweight in the title clash. So far this season, Mumbai hasn’t been able to defeat Pune even once, out of the three occasions the sides have met

Photo courtesy: Twitter\@mipaltan
Photo courtesy: Twitter\@mipaltan

Vikrant Jha

The tenth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), with all its spectacular highs to some devastating lows, finally comes to an end on Sunday.

It all now boils down to two teams from Maharashtra, Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) and Mumbai Indians (MI). The two franchises will take on each other on Sunday for the IPL title at Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad, the home ground of defending champions Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH).

Fans in India and across the world will be hoping for a mouth-watering clash in Hyderabad, after being left disappointed in the last three qualifying matches, which were pretty one-sided affairs.

Head to Head: Numbers favour Pune

MI and RPS have faced each other thrice in this season of the tournament and, on all three occasions Pune emerged victorious. Overall, Pune has defeated Mumbai four out of five times and will look to dominate the heavy weights on D-day as well. The statistics, however, will not concern the Rohit Sharma-led side as they are the only team in the history of IPL to win the Championship after losing in the first qualifier in 2013.

Interestingly, MI find themselves in an exact same scenario this season. In 2013, the Mumbai club had lost both the group matches against Chennai Super Kings (CSK), outplayed by the now-banned franchise yet again in the qualifier. However, Mumbai mounted a spectacular comeback and defeated the MS Dhoni-led side to win their inaugural title. MI would hope to replicate a 2013-like finish.

A title for MI will make them the most successful IPL team ever, with three trophies, while RPS would be keen on signing off with a title as they, along with Gujarat Lions, were drafted in for just two years to fill the void created by the bans on CSK and Rajasthan Royals.

Pitch, toss and teams

Hyderabad pitch assists the swing bowlers with the new ball and once the ball loses its shine, spinners come in handy with assistance from long boundaries of Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium. The team winning the toss would look to bowl first, since it’s a final and both the teams have chased well all along the tournament.

Although, RPS did defeat MI even after missing English all-rounder Ben Stokes and maverick leggie Imran Tahir, the international stars will be missed on Sunday. While RPS is almost sure to go unchanged with the winning combination on Sunday, Ambati Rayudu’s consecutive failures, after his half century on return, might cost him his place in Mumbai’s playing eleven. Nitish Rana looks like the most likely replacement. Aussie seamer Mitchell Johnson, however, might save his place on the playing side as Mumbai would like make minimum changes to its winning combination.

Expected playing eleven

MI: Lendl Simmons, Parthiv Patel, Nitish Rana/ Ambati Rayudu, Rohit Sharma (C), Kieron Pollard, Krunal Pandya, Hardik Pandya, Karn Sharma, Mitchell Johnson/ Mitch McClenaghan, Lasith Malinga, Jasprit Bumrah.

RPS: Rahul Tripathi, Ajinkya Rahane, Steve Smith (C), MS Dhoni, Manoj Tiwary, Dan Christian, Washington Sundar, Lockie Ferguson, Shardul Thakur, Jaydev Unadkat, Adam Zampa

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Published: 21 May 2017, 1:42 PM