Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) take on Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) in the penultimate group stage match of 2017 Indian Premier League season, which will also serve as a virtual quarter-final as both teams are still with a chance to make the playoffs.
While RPS are sitting at fourth spot with 16 points from eight games, they have the least Net Run Rate (-0.083) among the top five teams. KXIP, who are placed fifth with 14 points, need nothing less than a win to leapfrog Steve Smith's men and join Mumbai Indians, Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kolkata Knight Riders in the playoffs.
However, if RPS win, they will finish at the second spot, which will fetch them two chances to make the final of the ongoing season.
Supergiant's four-match winning streak came to an end at the Feroz Shah Kotla on Friday as hosts Delhi Daredevils edged them by seven runs. However, having won four matches in six outings at the MCA stadium this season, Pune will have the backing of the crowd in the much-anticipated afternoon match today.
However, Smith will have to cope up without his wrecker-in-chief Imran Tahir, who has already left the team for international duty. The onus will be on Adam Zampa and Washington Sundar to keep the Kings XI batsmen, who amassed 230 runs on Thursday, quiet in the powerplay overs.
On the other hand, Glenn Maxwell's men will be high on confidence after beating leaders Mumbai and Kolkata on the trot. Even after losing Hashim Amla and David Miller to international duty, Punjab have managed to post big scores, thanks to their in-form top-order, which has been bolstered by an in-form Wriddhiman Saha.
Possible XI: Smith (c), Tripathi, Rahane, Tiwary, Dhoni (wk), Stokes, Christian, Sundar, Thakur, Unadkat, Zampa
Possible XI: Maxwell (c), Saha (wk), Guptill, Marsh, Vohra, Axar, Tewatia, Swapnil, Henry, Mohit, Sandeep