Rising Pune Supergiants- Revival of the Underdogs
Rising Pune Supergiants(RPS) started their IPL weakly by winning just 1 of their first 4 matches but they picked up the pace and won 8 of their next 10 matches to finish second on the table. After a disastrous first campaign and a bad start no one thought they would even make it to the playoffs.
They made the most out their 14 crore man Ben Stokes who had a very big hand in their revival. Rahul Tripathi also was very handy in the group stages scoring 388 in the group stages. With the ball Jaydev Unadkat has been brilliant taking 22 wickets, second only to Bhuvneswar Kumar in the race for the purple cap and also claiming a hat trick.
Pune also made a solid start in the playoffs by winning the first qualifier against Mumbai Indians, a team they have beaten 3 times this IPL. Mumbai are the table toppers but they have struggled to beat pune this year.
Before the start of this edition of IPL, it was announced that Steve Smith will be the captain for RPS this year. It was a move heavily criticized as he was replacing Indias favorite MS Dhoni. MS Dhoni might have passed his prime but the experience he brings on the field makes a lot of difference, especially for the youngsters.
For the better part of this season, Steve Smith has gone to MS Dhoni for advice and field placements. They both have been working together. Their partnership has been working wonders for RPS.
IPL has been a platform for youngster in the Indian Domestic circuit to make their mark on the sport they love playing. It is their proving ground and many cricketers have gone further to represent India and leave a mark on the international stage. Playing with international stars and competing with them brings out the best in these youngsters and they are nurtured for the international stage.
RPS sensation Rahul Tripathi said in an interview with Ajinkya Rahane- “When I play with you (Rahane) in the nets, I keep a close watch on the smallest of techniques that you apply while batting. With Steve, he brings in his different style of play and when Mahi bhai comes to the ground, all you hear is the crowd chanting ‘Dhoni Dhoni’. That’s the kind of aura he is.”
He further went on to say on MS Dhonis finishing stating-“When I used to watch Mahi bhai finish games on television, it looked as if it was an easy task, but after having spent time with him on and off the field, I realise that his level of calmness under pressure is what one needs to learn. The kinds of shots that he played today as soon as he came out in the middle were unbelievable. I can only keep learning as much as I can in his presence.”