Mumbai Indians and Rising Pune Supergiant battle for a direct entry to the final of 2017 Indian Premier League as they meet in Qualifier 1 at the Wankhede Stadium on Tuesday.
The hosts, who are also two-time league champions, finished on top of the table with 20 points from 14 games. On the other hand, Supergiant won eight of their last 10 games to stage a remarkable comeback and finish behind Mumbai.
Having completed a double over Mumbai this season and won three of their four meetings in the past, the Supergiant will have the psychological edge over their opposition today. Having the likes of Steve Smith, MS Dhoni and Ajinkya Rahane, who are masters of dealing with pressure situations, is certainly going to boost the visitors, who would want to make an impact in their last season as a unit.
Apart from the experienced campaigners, skipper Smith also has the luxury of in-form local talents - Jaydev Unadkat, Rahul Tripathi and Washington Sundar. However, the loss of their key foreign signings - Ben Stokes and Imran Tahir - will have an impact and the team needs to get its combination right.
Meanwhile, Mumbai have relied on their batting unit so far in the season with Kieron Pollard, Parthiv Patel and Nitish Rana amongst the runs. Skipper Rohit though would want to add spark to what has been an ordinary season so far with a strong show with the bat tonight.
On the flip side, Mumbai's inconsistent bowling performances has been an area of concern with their wrecker-in-chief Lasith Malinga lacking spite this season. The return of left-arm spinner Krunal Pandya will give the side a boost as they gear up to exact revenge on the big night.
Possible XI: Rohit (c), Patel (wk), Simmons, Rana, Pollard, Krunal, Hardik, Harbhajan, McCleneghan, Malinga, Bumrah
Possible XI: Smith (c), Rahane, Tripathi, Bhatia, Dhoni (wk), Tiwary, Christian, Sundar, Ferguson, Unadkat, Zampa