MS Dhoni, RPS, SRH, IPL 2017, RCB
MS Dhoni will be desperate to make some runs with the bat for RPSIANS

He will definitely be in the playing XI, but with all the talk around his form, MS Dhoni will be the focus as the Rising Pune Supergiant, after a bit of a break, host the Sunrisers Hyderabad in IPL 2017 on Saturday.

RPS have not played since last Sunday, a game which they needed to win and ended up doing just that, at the expense of the Royal Challengers Bangalore.

While playing soon after a win to maintain the momentum is usually what you want, looking at how the matches in the Indian Premier League this season have gone overall for RPS, maybe that six-day break was a good thing.

RPS need to sort out plenty of things in their lineup, although the performance against RCB would have given them plenty of encouragement.

Chiefly because, it was the Indian players that stepped up in that match – Rahul Tripathi has looked good at the top alongside Ajinkya Rahane, while Manoj Tiwary has been a vital cog in the middle order.

Shardul Thakur and Jaydev Unadkat were quite impressive with the ball against RCB, picking up five wickets between them.

If the Indian players continue to perform their roles, RPS will start to move up the IPL 2017 points table, especially with Ben Stokes having his best bowling outing in the IPL last time out and Imran Tahir, well, being Imran Tahir.

Add the batting of Steve Smith and Stokes, RPS look quite good, with the only slight worry being Dhoni's batting form. The former skipper has not been helped by the fact that his own team owners have taken potshots at him – how pathetic is that – but the only way to shut everyone up is by using that bat of his to good use.

There were signs of Dhoni coming into his own in the last game, when he smashed a ball out of the Chinnaswamy Stadium, but the wicketkeeper-batsman needs more than one six. Maybe the big innings will come against the Sunrisers Hyderabad.

Kane Williamson, SRH, RPS, Delhi Daredevils, IPL 2017
With Kane Williamson in form, SRH have a stronger batting lineupIANS

While RPS were taking a break, SRH have been busy playing and with it finding some form again. After two straight losses away, the Sunrisers Hyderabad won two matches in a row at home, which keeps them in the top four.

The plan for SRH now will be to pick up their first away win of IPL 2017, with David Warner likely to stick with the same playing XI that beat the Delhi Daredevils on Wednesday.

Kane Williamson was a surprise pick in that team, and the New Zealander justified his selection by scoring a quite brilliant 89. Williamson's form means more time on the bench for Ben Cutting, unless the all-rounder comes in for Moises Henriques. Mohammad Nabi might also be an option, especially if the wicket is slow.

Mustafizur Rahman has found it difficult to make his way into the playing XI as well, and with Rashid Khan expected to stay, despite, for once, failing to pick a wicket in the last game, the Bangladesh pacer is likely to miss out again.

Mohammed Siraj had a solid debut, picking up two wickets, so the pacer will hope to keep his place in the team, which would then mean more time on the bench for Ashish Nehra as well as Barinder Sran.

Confirmed playing XI:

Rising Pune Supergiant: Rahul Tripathi, Ajinkya Rahane, Steve Smith (C), MS Dhoni, Ben Stokes, Manoj Tiwary, Dan Christian, Shardul Thakur, Jaydev Unadkat, Washington Sundar, Imran Tahir.


Sunrisers Hyderabad: Shikhar Dhawan, David Warner (C), Kane Williamson, Moises Henriques, Deepak Hooda, Naman Ojha, Bipul Sharma, Rashid Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Siddarth Kaul, Mohammed Siraj.