Mumbai Indians, who topped the points table in this edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), will today take on Rising Pune Supergiant in what could be expected as a high-voltage Qualifier 1 here at the Wankhede Stadium.
The Rohit Sharma-led side, contrary to the earlier seasons, established momentum very early in this edition and began the season with a seven-wicket defeat to this very opponent, but bounced back strongly and stitched together a six-match winning streak.
That run was halted by RPS, who clinched yet another closely fought contest. Mumbai Indians then won four of their remaining seven matches to finish on top of the standings.
Interestingly, the Steve Smith-led side are the only team that has beaten Mumbai Indians both times in this IPL edition and among the current sides, are the only one to have an undefeated record against Mumbai, that too in their den.
With five wins in their last six games leading into the play-offs, Pune Supergiant will go in with a lot of confidence. While Mumbai Indians boast of one of the best bowling units in this edition, Pune Supergiant have some experienced batsmen in their line-up with the likes of Ajinkya Rahane, Steve Smith and Mahendra Singh Dhoni that can send jitters to even the best of the bowling attacks.
However, they will be without two of their key performers as they head to the playoffs; all-rounder Ben Stokes and Imran Tahir have parted ways with the team to join up with their respective national teams.
The team, which will lose this match, will have another shot at making it to the final, but both teams would try to avoid that extra game which will only add to the pressure.
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