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IPL 2017 RPS vs GL: Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) Today’s Probable playing 11 against Gujarat Lions (GL)

Pune will be looking to strengthen their hold on fourth spot and inch closer to a playoff spot.

Pune
Smith has led from the front for Rising Pune Supergiant in IPL 2017

With four wins in their last five games, Rising Pune Supergiant have finally managed to get going in IPL 2017. In their last game against Royal Challengers Bangalore, they displayed that they can with the game with the ball as well. They will look to continue that as they take on the Gujarat Lions, who are coming hot on the heels of a super over defeat at the hands of Mumbai Indians.

In the 39th match of IPL 2017, they take on Gujarat Lions at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune. Here is the possible playing XI for Steven Smith’s side – 

Extra Cover: IPL 2017 RPS vs GL: Gujarat Lions (GL) Today's probable playing 11 against Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS)

Openers

Rahul Tripathi

Only four players had managed to score six consecutive scores of 30 or more in the history of the IPL before Rahul Tripathi achieved the feat during the game against RCB. The 26-year-old has been one of the biggest positives for Pune so far in IPL 2017 and the fact that he is a reliable fielder and can roll his arm over as well makes him an incredible asset to the side.

Ajinkya Rahane

Despite being one of the most consistent performers in the history of the IPL, Ajinkya Rahane has failed to get going so far in this year’s tournament. While the form of Steve Smith, MS Dhoni and Manoj Tiwary has meant that his poor form hasn’t been an issue for Pune, they need the Indian international to get back on track.

With his only duck in this year’s tournament coming against the Lions earlier in the tournament, the 28-year-old will be looking to improve his record against Suresh Raina’s side.

Middle-order

Steve Smith

Ever since the Australian took over the captaincy from MS Dhoni, he has certainly done all the right things. Not only has he performed with the bat on a consistent basis, he hasn’t been shy to take the advice of his predecessor at crucial junctures so far in this year’s competition.

The 27-year-old is yet to be dismissed for a single-digit score and after three consecutive games in which he scored less than 30, he has an unbeaten 51 and 45 to his name in the last couple of matches. He will look to continue that against the Lions. 

MS Dhoni

Intensity is often a good barometer to judge the form of a batsman. After a poor start to the tournament, Dhoni has displayed great intent since his promotion to No.4. He has scored at least 20 in four of the last five games and has remained unbeaten in two of those four knocks.

His recent knocks have silenced any doubts about his skill being on the wane. Just because he hasn’t done as frequently as he used to doesn’t mean Dhoni, the finisher, is done quite yet even if he has a new role in the Pune side.

Manoj Tiwary

The last game against RCB was perhaps proof that the calls for the veteran batsman to play a bigger chunk of the 20 overs might have been premature. Batting at the end of the innings, Manoj Tiwary provided the final flourish to the innings and was one of Pune’s most consistent batsmen. But the promotion to No.4 didn't go exactly according to plan.

Although he managed an unbeaten forty to his name, his timing was off and his strike rate was way off from his season average and so it won’t be surprising if Pune go back to Dhoni at No.4.

All-rounders

Dan Christian

With a strike rate of 175 with the bat and an economy under 7 with the ball including four wickets to his name, Daniel Christian has actually been an unsung hero for the Pune side. The big-hitting Australian has provided the balance that Smith has been looking for all along as he strengthens both the batting and the bowling department. Expect him to continue to shine and make his case for being in the XI even after Ben Stokes is fit.

Spinners

Washington Sundar

After being brought in to the side as a replacement for Ravichandran Ashwin there was a lot of expectations on Washington Sundar’s young shoulders. He has ensured that those expectations haven’t brought him down as his simple plans have reaped rich dividends so far. The left-arm spinner has been incredibly accurate with his subtle variations and has provided some much-needed control for Smith.

Imran Tahir

There is a reason why Imran Tahir is considered as one of the best limited-overs spinners in the world. In IPL 2017 he has shown just why as he has picked up 13 wickets already in the tournament and barring the game against KKR, he has at least a wicket in each game barring the one against KKR. 

The leg spinner is a crucial part of Steve Smith’s plans with the ball and will be looking to add to his tally of eight wickets from five matches in Pune this season.

Seamers

Lockie Ferguson

In the absence of Ben Stokes Pune needed a fast bowler to take over his role and in the game against RCB, the tearaway fast bowler from New Zealand did just that as he finished with sublime figures of 2/7 in his four overs. Although he was expensive in his first game against the Lions, he showed just what he can do against RCB and he will be looking to build on that as he takes on the Lions.

Deepak Chahar

Deepak Chahar came in for Shardul Thakur in the game against RCB and didn’t have much to do. Although he has taken just a single wicket from his three matches so far, Smith won't want to change a winning combination and are likely to give him another chance before going back to Thakur.

Jaydev Unadkat

The left-arm fast bowler may not be everyone’s idea of the first bowler they would want in their team but he has done the job for Pune. He has picked up at least a wicket in each game that he has played this season and while he has gone at 10 or over rpo in two of the five games, he was incredibly economical against RCB in both games he played against the side.

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