Playoff berth is up for grabs when Rising Pune Supergiant and Kings XI Punjab clash with each other.
Two points separates RPS and KXIP in the standings. RPS are fourth in the table with 16 points, while KXIP are fifth with 14 points. If KXIP win this contest, they will draw level with RPS on 16 points; but since they have a better run rate they should sneak through to the playoffs in fourth position. A win for RPS meanwhile will catapult them to second and set up a Qualifier date with the Mumbai Indians.
This will be the last league game for both sides and RPS will have the home advantage. Having said that, it is worth noting that they do not have a perfect record at the MCA stadium. The last time these two sides met this season, it was KXIP who had outplayed the Supergiant.
‘Big Money Ben’
The biggest advantage for Supergiant has been the balance that Stokes has brought into the side. At 14.5 crore, he has repaid every penny that he has been paid so far. His big-hitting and the lethal yorkers has made him the most valuable player for his franchise.
Stokes will leaveA�after Supergiant’s game against KXIP as national duty beckons him. But he would like to have a memorable parting shot at Maxwell’s men; who managed a great escape during the high-scoring thriller at Wankhede.
Hashim Amla and David Miller’s absence (left for national duty) didn’t affect the balance with Martin Guptill nicely fitting in. Shaun Marsh and Maxwell with all their T20 experience and the gutsy Wriddhiman Saha make for a potent line-up.
Manan Vohra can also be dangerous on his day. Axar Patel brings in the necessary balance with his all- round abilities. Sandeep Sharma and Mohit Sharma have bowled some good overs at the death.
Head to Head :
Matches – 3
Rising Pune Supergiant – 1, Kings XI Punjab – 2
Probable Lineups :
Rising Pune Supergiant
Ajinkya Rahane, Rahul Tripathi, Steven Smith (c), Ben Stokes, MS Dhoni (w); Daniel Christian, Manoj Tiwary, Washington Sundar, Shardul Thakur, Jaydev Unadkat, Adam Zampa.
Kings XI Punjab
Manan Vohra, Martin Guptill, Shaun Marsh, Wriddhiman Saha (w), Glenn Maxwell (c); Axar Patel, Rahul Tewatia, Matt Henry, Mohit Sharma, Ishant Sharma, Sandeep Sharma.