Two newcomers came into the IPL last season – Gujarat Lions and Rising Pune Supergiants. While Gujarat had glittering success by topping the league standings, Pune finished a measly seventh on the table.
MS Dhoni was then captain of the side and he could not replicate the success of CSK with RPS. He had his former CSK teammate R Ashwin at disposal but success was far from the 2-time IPL winning duo.
Before entering in this season of IPL, the Sanjiv Goenka-owned RPS have made several changes. RPS raised a lot of eyebrows in the auction when they bagged England all-rounder Ben Stokes for whopping Rs 14.50 crore. It made Stokes the most expensive overseas player in IPL history. He was marked at a base price of 2 crores.
The most noticeable and shocking change that RPS made was to remove MS Dhoni from captaincy and replace him with Australia captain Steve Smith. It was announced that Dhonia��s role would be restricted as a wicketkeeper-batsman in RPSa�� second edition in the cash-rich league. Also, the franchise has changed the name of the team to Rising Pune Supergiant in place of Rising Pune Supergiants.
RPS have a solid top 6 batsmen this year with the likes of Ajinkya Rahane, Steve Smith, FAF Du Plessis and MS Dhoni. Stokes can be a feisty run scorer and his allround abilities will be an asset to the side. They have three quality spinners in R Ashwin, Imran Tahit and Adam Zampa who can take the game away from the opposition on any day.
The seamers seem to be a cause of concern for the RPS franchise. Ashoke Dinda and Ishwar Pandey are seasoned domestic performers but they lack the consistency needed for IPL. Stokes and Daniel Christian will have to step up and perform. The lower order also seems weak in case of a collapse of the batting order.
Key Players : Ben Stokes, Steve Smith, MS Dhoni, R Ashwin
Our Prediction: Better than 7th place, but playoff seems unlikely
Steve Smith (C), Mayank Agarwal, Ankit Sharma, Baba Aparajith, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ankush Bains, Rajat Bhatia, Deepak Chahar, Rahul Chahar, Dan Christian, MS Dhoni (W), Ashok Dinda, Faf du Plessis, Lockie Ferguson, Imran Tahir, Jaskaran Singh, Usman Khawaja, Ajinkya Rahane, Saurabh Kumar, Ben Stokes, Milind Tandon, Manoj Tiwary, Adam Zampa, Jaydev Unadkat, Ishwar Pandey, Rahul Tripathi, Shardul Thakur.
List of Matches:
1. RPS v MI, April 6 2017, 8PM IST
2. KXIP v RPS, April 8 2017, 4PM IST
3. RPS v DD, April 11 2017, 8PM IST
4. GL v RPS, April 14 2017, 8PM IST
5. RCB v RPS, April 16 2017, 8PM IST
6. RPS v SRH, April 22 2017, 4PM IST
7. MI v RPS, April 24 2017, 8PM IST
8. RPS v KKR, April 26 2017, 8PM IST
9. RPS v RCB, April 29 2017, 4PM IST
10. RPS v GL, May 1 2017, 8PM IST
11. KKR v RPS, May 3 2017, 8PM IST
12. SRH v RPS, May 6 2017, 4PM IST
13. DD v RPS, May 12 2017, 8PM IST
14. RPS v KXIP, May 14 2017, 4PM IST