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IPL 2017, Qualifier 1, MI vs RPS: Mumbai Indians' probable playing XI against Rising Pune Supergiant

With the depth in strength that is the envy of many, the Mumbai Indians team management has a number of selection dilemmas to ponder upon.

Mumbai Indians IPL 2017
Rohit Sharma’s side topped the IPL standings with 20 points with RPS emerging as the runners-up

 Mumbai Indians (MI) deservedly finished top of the IPL standings after the group stages and will have home advantage on their side when they take on Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) in the Qualifier 1 of the 2017 IPL at the Wankhede stadium on Tuesday. 

With a resounding victory over Kings XI Punjab on Sunday that secured their passage to the knockout stages, Steven Smith’s RPS will prove to be a match for Mumbai as the crowd can look forward to what looks like going to be an interesting Maharashtra derby in the offering.

Mumbai’s strength in depth was visibly evident against the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) on Saturday leaving the team management to take some tough calls for Qualifier 1.

Here is the probable playing XI for Rohit Sharma’s side in the Qualifier 1 against Rising Pune Supergiant:

Openers

Parthiv Patel (WK)

The diminutive wicket-keeper batsman has defied the critics to perform consistently at the top for the Mumbai Indians, scoring 325 runs in 13 matches in this edition of the IPL. With experience on his side, Parthiv is expected to edge out the impressive Nitish Rana, who will no doubt be disappointed to miss out despite performing so admirably throughout the campaign.

Lendl Simmons

The explosive Jos Buttler managed to keep Simmons out of the lineup for much of the campaign but the West Indian has shown that he can be equally destructive with the bat since the Englishman’s departure. He loves playing at the Wankhede as was evident with his knock of 59 against Kings XI Punjab and he is one player who has the ability to take the match away from the opposition right from the word go.

Middle-order

Ambati Rayudu

Having been a regular in the MI setup for a few seasons now, the 2017 edition started on a bad note for the 31-year-old who was injured in the match against Tuesday’s opposition and had to wait until the final group game against the KKR to finally get an opportunity back in the side and he definitely made it count.

Rayudu’s 37-ball 63 proved to be the difference between the two sides and with his utility and experience, the Mumbai think-tank will be tempted to play him on Tuesday despite having played the last match only as a means to provide rest to the regulars in the side.

Rohit Sharma (C)

Rohit Sharma Mumbai Indians IPL 2017.jpg
Mumbai Indians will look to their skipper to deliver again

The Mumbai Indians skipper has had a below-par IPL campaign in 2017 considering the high standards that he has set for himself in the past editions of the tournament. But as we all know, Rohit Sharma is a big game player and boosting his confidence will be the fact that he scored 58 against the RPS the last time the two teams battled it out at the Wankhede.

Kieron Pollard

The West Indian all-rounder might no longer be rolling over his arms but he has more than made up for the deficiency with his batting and fielding skills. He looks a much more composed batsman this time around, measured in his approach, though still retaining his ability to hit big when the time comes.

With two half-centuries in his last four matches, Pollard is in prime form and Mumbai should aim to get him in quickly so that he can take his time to settle down before going for the big shots.

All-rounders

Hardik Pandya

Hardik Pandya Mumbai Indians IPL 2017.jpg
Hardik Pandya brings both talent as well as energy to the Mumbai Indians set up

The Indian all-rounder has had yet another successful IPL campaign proving to be equally effective with the ball as the bat. And on will have to admit that he has been one of the key reasons that the Mumbai Indians have done so well in this campaign. Having someone of his calibre has enabled the team management to be flexible with their approach and the energy he provides to the side is invaluable.

Krunal Pandya

With 10 wickets from as many matches at an economy rate of less than seven, Krunal Pandya has exceeded expectations with his performances. With his ability to chip in with the bat as well, as seen from his mature knock against the RCB, Krunal, like his brother Hardik, provides immense flexibility to the Mumbai Indians side that can’t be measured in just mere numbers. 

Spinner 

Harbhajan Singh

With his immense experience, Harbhajan Singh is expected to get the nod over Karn Sharma on Tuesday. Though his wicket-taking abilities may be on the decline, the Turbanator, with an economy rate of 6.48, has been key in putting a stranglehold on the opposition batting thereby creating pressure which his fellow bowlers have benefitted from. 

Having been overlooked for the Champions Trophy squad, the 36-year-old will be keen to show the selectors that he is not finished just yet. 

Seamers

Mitchell McClenaghan

Consistency has been the key factor for this talented New Zealand pacer this time around as he has begun to repay the faith that the Mumbai Indians have shown on him. Though slightly on the higher side when it comes to the economy rate, his wicket-taking abilities have been key to Mumbai’s success and with bowlers around him that can put the plug on the scoring, having someone like McClenagahan in the ranks is a big bonus.

Jasprit Bumrah

The Indian youngster has had yet another impressive IPL campaign with the batsmen still struggling to get the ball away from his bowling in the death overs. Rohit Sharma has used his premier fast bowler wisely and the results are there to see with 15 wickets in his kitty already this season. 

Lasith Malinga

The Mumbai Indians team management has always maintained that they wanted to preserve Lasith Malinga for the latter stages of the tournament and with the side leading the IPL standings without having to depend on the Sri Lankan pacer, they have got their planning absolutely spot on. 

Despite not being on top of his game, it is expected that Malinga will get his chance to impress in the big matches and the freshness with which he comes into the match on Tuesday might just prove to be the difference betweem the two sides. 

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