RPS and KXIP to battle for playoff spot in a virtual knockout game
- The equation is simple, whoever loses, will be knocked out of the race.
- If RPS win, then they will set up a clash against the Mumbai Indians in Qualifier 1.
- If KXIP win, Maxwell and co. will have to play the Eliminator against KKR.
Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) will lock horns with Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) in the penultimate league match on Sunday afternoon at the MCA Stadium in Pune. This is virtually a knockout game as whoever wins will go through to the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2017 playoffs.
The current equation says that KXIP have a much better net run rate than the Supergiant and they will got through with a win. RPS is the only side to have a negative net run rate in the top five and that is something which can hurt them if they end up losing the game on Sunday.
Problems just does not seem to end for Smith and co. Even if they manage to set up a derby clash in the Qualifier 1 with Mumbai Indians, RPS will be without three crucial players - Ben Stokes, Imran Tahir and Faf du Plessis, as they will head back for a three-match series.
RPS will also be worried about Ajinkya Rahane's form. Smith also has not been able to convert his starts. If they would want to yield a good result, the big names will have to fire and they don't have a choice.
Meanwhile, KXIP have been sweating over the form of Matt Henry and Ishant Sharma. Mohit Sharma and Sandeep Sharma have been exceptional in the last couple of matches. Maxwell might just consider Darren Sammy and Varun Aaron in place of Henry and Ishant.
Rising Pune Supergiant: Ajinkya Rahane, Rahul Tripathi, Steven Smith(C), Ben Stokes, MS Dhoni(wk), Daniel Christian, Manoj Tiwary, Washington Sundar, Shardul Thakur, Jaydev Unadkat, Adam Zampa.
Kings XI Punjab: Martin Guptill, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Glenn Maxwell (C), Shaun Marsh, Axar Patel, Manan Vohra, Darren Sammy, Rahul Tewatia, Mohit Sharma, Sandeep Sharma, Varun Aaron.