The Rising Pune Supergiant would have been relieved to come away with a victory over the Mumbai Indians on Thursday, in an IPL 2017 match they dominated for the most part. RPS would love to make it two wins out of two when they travel to Indore to face the Kings XI Punjab on Saturday.
Barring one over in the 39.5 that were bowled, RPS were the better team in the Maharashtra derby in Pune.
Mumbai Indians were able to make a game of it, only because Hardik Pandya managed to pick up 30 runs from the final over of the first innings, bowled by Ashok Dinda. If not for that over, this match would have been a lot easier for RPS.
But then, the Rising Pune Supergiant would have also learned something from that match – the importance of staying zoned-in for the entire 40 overs; such is the quality of the IPL that if you take your eye off the ball for even a minute, the match could slip out of your hands.
Thankfully, they have a run-scoring machine in Steve Smith, who does not know how to get out without making playing a sizeable innings. As long as Smith stays in this form, RPS will do alright in IPL 2017. Add Rahane's runs at the top, the big-hitting ability of Ben Stokes and the calmness and finishing skills of MS Dhoni, RPS really do have the ingredients to go a long way this season.
Unlike RPS, who have already tasted action in the Indian Premier League this year, Kings XI will be playing their first match of the new season, and it is anybody's guess which KXIP team is going to step onto the pitch – the one that entertained everyone three of years ago or the one that perennially disappoints, despite having so much talent in the squad.
Much will depend on their overseas batsmen, particularly the new captain Glenn Maxwell and David Miller. Kiings XI had their best season when those two fired in tandem and the Punjab franchise need the "M&M" partnership to score consistently in IPL 2017.
Kings XI will know RPS' weakness is their bowling, with MI able to get past 180, even after they batted rather poorly. So, the responsibility rests with their senior batsmen to take advantage of that weakness and make sure the Kings XI Punjab make a strong start in IPL 2017.
When and where to watch live
KXIP vs RPS is schedule for a 4pm IST (11.30am BST) start. TV and live streaming information of the match is below.
India: TV: Sony Six, Sony Six HD, Sony ESPN, Sony ESPN HD (Tamil, Telugu, Bengali), Sony Max (Hindi). Live Streaming: Hotstar.
International: Live Streaming: Cricketgateway.
USA: TV: Willow TV. Live Streaming: Willow TV Online.
UK: TV: Sky Sports 3. Live Streaming: Watch Sky Sports.
Middle East: TV: OSN Sports Cricket HD. Live Streaming: OSN Play.
South Africa: TV: SuperSport Two. Live Streaming: SuperSport Live Video.