IPL 2017: Can Mumbai be fourth time lucky?

If the IPL final was a three match affair and the team which wins two of those is crowned champion, then Mumbai would lose the first, win the next and draw the third and clinch the title in the super over. They like taking the long route even if a shorter one lies in front of them with open arms. After securing a spot in the first qualifier, Mumbai lost the easy way to reach the finals and won in second qualifier and somehow reached the finals. When the same happened in 2013, they went on to win their maiden IPL trophy. The play off scenario is similar this time  for the men in blue and they would be up against the giant(s) from Pune who have risen above everyone’s expectations.

Bowling the key to success for RPS

By now, Mumbai should have done their analysis against RPS, after being defeated thrice in three games. They would have it in their mind that twice in Mumbai’s own backyard, Pune’s bowlers defended a target of just about 160.Washington Sundar stood out on both the occasions, he didn’t spin a web, but was dead accurate against their top order as each of their stars perished trying to up the ante. If it was Sundar in the powerplay, it was Dan Christian and Shardul Thakur in the middle overs and Unadkat at the death. Kiwi Lockie Ferguson too has come up with a few impressive performances and in Stokes’ absence, RPS would want him to do it one more time. Adam Zampa might have had a quite season this time, but Sunday’s final could be that one game where he gets on his own. Even to go by the stats, it is Pune’s bowling which has been the chassis of their astonishing turn around. Smith was handed over the captaincy under controversial circumstances and many voices condemned the act of removing Dhoni from the top post. But, don’t great minds discuss ideas, they do and the way their combo has turned out is another talking point in RPS’s successful campaign.

Mumbai have their task cut out

Mumbai  are known to be at their best in big matches. For most part under Rohit, they have been exceptional when it has mattered the most. The current core team was the same when Mumbai clinched the title twice. So, as a team, they have the experience of how it is done. Others like Krunal Pandya and Karn Sharma too have stepped up when the occasion demanded. But this is Pune’s first taste of finals as a team,and probably their last, so who can they look out for some insights about the pressure of handling a finale? MS Dhoni. He can hold your hand and take you a walk through those tense situations and show you how it is done. His last final in IPL for CSK did not go in his  favor, but the world knows his expertise when the stage gets bigger.

The clincher is set between a team that has always been a favorite and another that everybody had decided to shun. Mumbai may not get to play with this squad next season and Pune would bid adieu. This final match of IPL 10 will also be the last ever match for Pune, but with one more win, Mumbai would become the first team to win the IPL trophy thrice. This Maharashtra Derby promises a lot more than the trophy at stake.

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