About the Match
So this is it, IPL 2017 is coming to an end, and the final two teams standing tall after a gruelling journey are Mumbai Indians, who were very consistent throughout the league phase but then had to play both the qualifiers in order to make the finals, 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 but then scored a comfortable win in the qualifier 1 to make it to the finals. These two teams will take on each other in the Final of the IPL at Hyderabad on 21st May, where the winner will be crowned as the IPL 2017 Champion.
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. Then in the Qualifier 1, they defeated Mumbai comfortably to become the first finalists of this season, which had looked like a distant dream at one point during their campaign.
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. Then in the Qualifier 1 against Mumbai, when Pune was looking in some real trouble, MS Dhoni absorbed all the pressure and shepherded his team into the Finals.
On the back of this win, Pune enter the Final 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 the fourth time in this season and lift the IPL trophy for the very first time.
Mumbai lost to Pune in the qualifier 1, but then absolutely thrashed Kolkata in the Qualifier 2 to enter the final of IPL 2017. However, prior to losing the Qualifier 1, they had lost a total of only four games in the entire league stage and had 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 was 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 faced-off against 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 was clinical with both bat and ball, and scored an important win before heading into the playoffs. Despite this momentum though, they could not overcome Pune in the qualifier 1, and were then faced with a must-win game against Kolkata in the Qualifier 2. However, they were amazingly clinical against Kolkata and beat them comfortably to take their rightful place in the finals.
Mumbai’s batting has been very good throughout, with 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 a very strong unit on paper and with their sights now set at the IPL title; they will definitely pose a very stringent challenge for Pune.
Mumbai and Pune have already faced each other three times in this season and all the three games were won by the Supergiant, two in the league stage and then in the Qualifier 1. This match is being held in Hyderabad, and so none of the teams will have any home advantage. Both these teams have had great seasons, and both would give their all to pick up the ultimate prize. But Pune has the confidence of having beaten Mumbai thrice already, last time in the Qualifier 1 itself, and this gives them a slight upper hand in this contest.