IPL 2017 Final: Mumbai Indians vs Rising Pune Supergiant - Combined XI
59 matches of hard-earned labour, if you would like to call it, were what it took for two teams based out of the same state to make it to the final of arguably the world’s most abundantly resource-rich league. That they still have a reserve day for the final and that the only two international tournaments played during the course of the IPL involved teams or players not playing the IPL speaks about the resources at hand.
So abundant are they that the teams playing the final might have only one local player – Rahul Tripathi for Pune and Rohit Sharma for Mumbai – playing in the final eleven. To better elucidate the power that these two sides bring to the table, in terms of being T20 teams, we have put up a combined eleven of the final encounter of IPL 2017.
Rohit Sharma has his eyes set on a third IPL title and would leave no stones unturned in his quest to achieve what no other captain has achieved so far. His form with the bat might not be extraordinary, but his proactiveness with captaincy has been stupendous and certainly knows when to call the shots in T20 matches.
Rahul Tripathi fills up the other openers’ slot and ends this team’s association with the cities they are based out of. The surprising phenomenon that he has been and the way he has churned out the runs would certainly have made the men who matter wake up and notice. Consistency would remain the key for him, though.
Steve Smith’s extended stay in India might be coming to an end, but the final frontier awaits. While he has been exceptional throughout his stay in the subcontinent country the road only gets longer for him from here as an ICC tournament lies ahead for him and the team he will be leading.
MS Dhoni has shown glimpses of his former brilliance on a couple of occasions in the league and there are expectations of him dong the same if the need arises in the final. While that is nostalgia kissing us on our cheeks, given the way Dhoni played in the last game, the possibility of a Dhoni-special cannot be negated.
Kieron Pollard, surprisingly, has been the sheet anchor for Mumbai this season, instead of being an out-and-out hitter as he is naturally perceived to be. His form has dipped, though, in the later stages of the tournament but that doesn’t prevent him from being the most valuable player of this combined eleven.
Manoj Tiwary has earned his promotion to No. 4 in the Pune lineup through some belligerent performances lower down the order. The experienced right-handed batsman has the ability to knock the ball around if there are several early wickets, as well as play the role of a hitter at the death.
Krunal Pandya trumps his brother Hardik and makes it to the combined eleven owing to his superior performance with the ball as compared to his brother, especially during the powerplay overs. Also, him being a left-hander brings the much-needed versatility to this lineup.
Washington Sundar proved out to be a match-winner for Pune in their qualifier against Mumbai and showed what persistence could do to a youngster’s confidence. High on confidence now, Sundar could do what he did at the Wankhede and turn the match in Pune’s favour.
Jaydev Unadkat has finally come good in his IPL career and has done wonders for Pune. His performances have exceeded expectations if I might add, and from a medium pacer bordering on a dibbly-dobbly he has emerged out as Pune’s most valuable pacer in the league.
Mitchell McClenaghan has picked up a wicket in the powerplays in every game that he has played this season and although he missed the last game owing to an injury, a fit-again McClenaghan would be Mumbai’s No. 1 wicket-taking option.
Lasith Malinga rounds off the combined eleven as the death-bowling specialist, especially for a pressure game such as the IPL final. He has been picked up ahead of Jasprit Bumrah, owing to the youngster’s susceptibility to overstepping on occasions and his errors in the field. Malinga brings experience to the table and having handled several such situations in the past, is the best bet for Mumbai in the final.