The second match of the IPL 2017 will be held in Pune, with RPS looking to make the best possible start to their campaign, after an Indian Premier League season to forget last year. The Rising Pune Supergiant will host the Mumbai Indians in a Maharashtra derby at the MCA Stadium on Thursday.
Considering this is a clash between the local rivals, there will be plenty at stake, and both teams will also know the importance of making the right start to the season, mainly because it sets the tone for the rest of the campaign.
Here is a prediction of how IPL 2017 Match 2 might go.
If RPS bat first:
The wicket looks good and Ajinkya Rahane and Faf Du Plessis start the innings in brilliant fashion. Both batsmen keep finding the boundaries with ease and before you know it, the score is 54/0 in 5 overs, with the likes of Jasprit Bumrah, Tim Southee and Mitchell McClenaghan taken for plenty.
Rohit Sharma, realising a change of pace is needed, brings on Krunal Pandya, and the left-arm orthodox strikes immediately, with Du Plessis lobbing one to extra cover. That wicket gives MI the momentum they were looking for, with Ajinkya Rahane also falling soon after to the other Pandya brother – Hardik.
This is when Steve Smith and MS Dhoni, who come above Mayank Agarwal, build a brilliant partnership. There have been murmurs of Smith and Dhoni's relationship not exactly being the best, but all those murmurs are silenced as two of the best in the game slay the MI bowlers with surgical precision.
Smith and Dhoni put on 75 runs together, and that allows MI, with a Ben Stokes blitz at the end, to get to 191.
The Mumbai Indians are under pressure right from the off, considering they are chasing such a big target, but Rohit eases that pressure early by hitting three boundaries in the first over, bowled by Ashok Dinda. Parthiv Patel also gets in on the act as Jaydev Unadkat goes for a lot as well, with MI scoring 28 runs in the first two overs.
Stokes is given the third over by Smith and the Englishman gets his first ever IPL wicket in his first ever IPL match. Parthiv is the man to go, with the left-hander edging one through to Dhoni.
Rohit and Ambati Rayudu, however, build a decent partnership, leaving the Mumbai Indians needing 124 runs in the final 12 overs. Rayudu falls, and a couple of overs later, so does Rohit, both to Adam Zampa, which means Jos Buttler and Kieron Pollard are required to take this match close.
They do just that with a brilliant partnership, with the two batsmen taking the equation down to 28 from 12 balls. Pollard falls in that penultimate over, with Hardik unable to do much with the bat as well. Buttler gives it a right old go, but the Mumbai Indians fall short by five runs.
If Mumbai Indians bat first:
Rohit and Parthiv get off to a flier, scoring 54 runs in the Powerplay overs. Zampa then picks up the wicket of the Mumbai Indians skipper, with Parthiv also falling soon after. Rayudu and Buttler put on a half-century partnership, before Pollard comes in and bashes a few sixes.
With Krunal and Hardik also getting in on the act, the Mumbai Indians are able to get to 189 in their 20 overs.
RPS get off to a disastrous start as Rahane and Agarwal fall within the first two overs. The Rising Pune Supergiant desperately need a partnership, and they get that through Smith and Du Plessis.
The two experienced campaigners ally for a quite outstanding 78 runs, which keeps RPS very much in the chase. When Du Plessis falls to Harbhajan Singh, Stokes is sent in, and the left-hander gets going quickly. After a 15-ball cameo, Stokes makes way for Dhoni, and the finisher extraordinaire goes about chasing the total down brilliantly with Smith.
Even with the required run rate going past the 12-run mark, Dhoni and Smith take the game deep, and with 14 needed off the final over, they knock down those runs, with the wicketkeeper-batsman, typically, striking the winnings runs.