Steve Smith, MS Dhoni, RPS, Mumbai Indians, IPL 2017 final
Mumbai Indians have struggled against RPS all seasonIANS

The Mumbai Indians will need to break the Rising Pune Supergiant hoodoo if they are to clinch their third IPL title. While MI had to take the longer route to the IPL 2017 final, they will have some momentum with them going into this game against RPS, with every bit of that momentum required to beat the team that have had their number throughout this season.

In three matches played so far, the Maharashtra derby spoils have gone every single time to the Rising Pune Supergiant.

Two matches have been won while defending a score – and interestingly, both of those at the Wankhede, which is usually a chasing paradise – with the other coming while chasing.

So, RPS have beaten MI in all ways possible, and even when the crowd have not been exactly on their side.

That shows some real resolve and nous, along with the knowledge on how to beat your opponent.

If RPS continue to do what they have done over the past three games against MI, then there is only going to be one winner in the IPL 2017 final.

The key for the Mumbai Indians will be to get the Rising Pune Supergiant out of their comfort zone, throw a few curveballs in and see how they react.

RPS, Dhoni, Mumbai Indians, IPL 2017, final
RPS have been really good with bat and ball in the second half if IPL 2017IANS

To be fair, RPS have dealt with everything MI have thrown at them pretty well, even defending scores of 160 and 162 at the Wankhede.

That is no mean feat and what it shows is that this Rising Pune Supergiant side isn't just about the batting anymore.

With Jaydev Unadkat picking up wickets by the bucketloads, Shardul Thakur providing able support, Lockie Ferguson coming in and adding an extra dimension, Adam Zampa and Dan Christian providing the middle overs control and Washington Sundar bowling like a veteran rather than a teenager in his first IPL, RPS seem to be on a roll as far as the bowling is concerned.

And that is despite losing Imran Tahir and Ben Stokes.

Add a strong batting lineup of Ajinkya Rahane, back in form after a nice half-century in Qualifier 1, Rahul Tripathi, Steve Smith, Manoj Tiwary, MS Dhoni and Christian, and you have a formidable team to beat.

The Mumbai Indians will, of course, know that. What they will also know or need to realise is that if they play to their full potential, they are a match, and then some, for any team in the IPL.

Krunal Pandya on the win over KKR

There are very few chinks in the MI armoury, with the only small concern being their top order batting.

Lendl Simmons, after starting his IPL off with a half-century, hasn't quite found his range, and while Parthiv Patel has looked good, MI need Ambati Rayudu and Rohit Sharma to really take this game by the proverbial scruff of the neck.

Doing that is never easy when you know your opponents have beaten you three times already this season, but overcoming that mental block is essential. If not, it will be a maiden, and last, IPL title for the Rising Pune Supergiant.

IPL 2017 final schedule: Rising Pune Supergiant vs Mumbai Indians.

Date: Sunday, May 21.

 

Time: 8pm IST, 6.30pm GST, 3.30pm BST, 10.30am ET.

 

Venue: Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Hyderabad.

 

TV guide: India: Sony Six, Sony Six HD, Sony ESPN, Sony ESPN HD, and Sony Max. UK, Ireland: Sky Sports. USA: Willow TV. Middle East: OSN Sports Cricket HD. South Africa and Sub Saharan Africa: SuperSport. New Zealand: Sky Sport. International: Cricketgateway (online).

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