About the Match
The league stage of the IPL is over, and the top two teams standing tall after a gruelling journey of 56 matches are Mumbai Indians, who were very consistent throughout, and Rising Pune Supergiant, who made it through to the playoffs in unlikely circumstances on the back of a late surge in the league stage. These two teams will now take on each other in the Qualifier 1 of the IPL at Mumbai on 16th May. The winner of this game will head straight to the finals, and the loser will get another crack at making the finals in the qualifier 2, which will be held on 19th May in Bangalore.
Mumbai has had an amazing season this year. They lost a total of only four games in the entire league stage, and have finished as the top ranked team in the league. Surprisingly though, they had started their campaign with a loss against Pune. But after that game, Mumbai were able to find the right combination, and went on to win six matches in a row, defeating Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Gujarat, Punjab and Delhi in the process.
But this winning run came to a halt when Mumbai were faced with Pune again. They could not overcome Pune in their second meeting of the season either and suffered only their second loss. But after this game, Mumbai went on to win their next three games against Gujarat, Bangalore and Delhi. After qualifying for the playoffs however, they got a little complacent, and as a result suffered losses in their next two matches against Hyderabad and Punjab.
But in their last league game against Kolkata, Mumbai were clinical with both bat and ball, and scored an important win before heading into the payoffs. Mumbai’s batting has been very good throughout, with Nitish Rana, Pollard, Parthiv Patel, Jos Butler, Rohit Sharma, Simmons and Pandya brothers playing important roles at different times in different games.
Such a strong batting unit, along with a dependable bowling line up, makes Mumbai one of the favorites to win the tournament; and they are coming into this game on the back of a clinical win against Kolkata, and will definitely pose a very stringent challenge for Pune.
Rising Pune Supergiant
Rising Pune Supergiant has had an exceptional turnaround in the tournament. At one time, they had played eight games and with wins in half of those, were in a tricky spot; but then they strung together a fantastic four game winning streak, and were able to make the playoffs with a win against Punjab in their last league game.
Pune had started their campaign with an emphatic win over Mumbai Indians. However, they fizzled after that and couldn’t translate the opening success into wins in the matches thereafter. They lost three matches in a row, against Punjab, Delhi and Gujarat, and kept making changes to the side in a bid to find the perfect winning combination, but failed to do so.
Then against Bangalore, they finally found the right combination and were able to get a much required win. Then in the next match against Hyderabad, MS Dhoni took Pune home in a nail biter. Pune completed a hat-trick of wins in their next game against Mumbai, holding their nerves to win a close contest. With three wins in a row, Pune looked like gaining some momentum, but without the services of Ben Stokes, they could not overcome a clinical Kolkata, getting defeated in a convincing manner.
Despite this loss, the Pune team bounced back, and went on to register four wins in a row against Bangalore, Gujarat, Kolkata and Hyderabad. But when playoffs were there for the taking, Pune choked in the chase, and lost to Delhi in their next game. This loss meant that their last league game against Punjab was a do or die affair, and this is where Pune showed its class with an absolute thrashing of Kings XI.
On the back of this win, Pune enter the playoffs with some great form and loads of confidence, and should they be able to perform to their optimum potential, they can very well topple Mumbai for a third time in this season.
Mumbai and Pune have already faced each other twice in this season and both the games were won by the Supergiant. This match is being held in Mumbai, and so Mumbai will have the home advantage. Both these teams have had great seasons, and both would be looking to make it through to the finals in the first attempt itself. But Pune has the confidence of having beaten Mumbai twice already, and is also riding high on the momentum of an absolute annihilation of Punjab in its last game, and this gives them slight upper hand in this contest.