Year-ender 2017: Rising Pune Supergiant soar as big guns disappoint in landmark edition

first_imgThe Indian Premier League (IPL)  is two months of entertainment and this year was no different.From Samuel Badree, Andrew Tye’s hat-tricks and the Royal Challengers Bangalore getting bowled out for just 49 to hundreds from Sanju Samson, Hashim Amla — the season had it all.However, this season was even more special because of Mumbai Indians — who became the first team in the history of the IPL to lift the trophy three times. The Paltans, under Rohit Sharma, won the trophy thrice in 2013, 2015 and 2017.And giving them stiff competition was Rising Pune Supergiant, who took a huge decision and created history in their own way right before the tournament started. RPS became the first-ever team to sack Mahendra Singh Dhoni as captain and replace him with the red-hot Steve Smith at the helm. This was the first time MS Dhoni was sacked as a captain. Before this, he was the one to step down from the Indian and Test captaincy and Mahi also led the Chennai Super Kings for all the eight seasons before they were suspended.And that was not all, the franchise took a few more bold decisions and they turned out to be gold. RPS bought Ben Stokes the second highest paid player in the auction in February, paying him a whopping amount of 14.5 crore INR and decided to replace the injured Ravichanran Ashwin with Washington Sundar. Come May, the duo turned out to be major game changers for the Pune side.The team that won just five of their 14 matches a year back, emerged victorious nine times out of 14 games in the league stages in 2017. The now defunct side finished second in the group and played the qualifier 1 and defeated Mumbai Indians to go straight to the final.advertisementThey were high on spirit as they beat their neighbours thrice earlier in the tournament. But their luck ran out as they lost the final by 1 run to Mumbai after making a mockery of a small target in Hyderabad.Smith and Stokes starred for them throughout the tournament. The Australian captain accumulated 472 runs from 15 games. Stoke returned with 312 runs and 12 wickets. He scored a ton as well before leaving ahead of the qualifiers.Mumbai, the eventual champions, had nothing new to offer. It was the same story, different year.BCCI PhotoThey lost the first game of the tournament to Pune and then went on a six-game unbeaten streak. They then lost to Pune again and then won two games straight and the next match was tied. Mumbai then defeated the Royal Challengers and Delhi Daredevils and again lost to Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kings XI Punjab. The Paltans won their last match versus the Kolkata Knight Riders to finish on top of the ladder.Eventually they ended with 10 wins from 14 games.Nitish Rana top-scored for them with 312 runs from 10 games while Mitchell McClenaghan got the most number of wickets with 15.The eventual champions beat KKR in the second qualifier thanks to a superb bowling performance. They bowled out the two-time champions for a paltry 107 and chased that down in 14.3 overs to march into the final.The final however, turned out to be nail-biter. Mumbai, who lost to Pune thrice in the season, had a point to prove in the ‘Maharashtra Derby’Mumbai were down out with a low total of 129/8 from their 20 overs. Krunal Pandya scored a fighting 47 off 38 balls to take them to a respectable total. But once again, their bowlers stepped up when needed. The likes of Karn Sharma and Lasith Malinga kept it tight while Mitchell Johnson picked up three wickets and was ably backed by Jasprit Bumrah, who bagged two.RPS needed 13 runs off the last over and Johnson after being hit for a four off the first ball, gave only three runs away and picked up two wickets in the last five deliveries to take Mumbai to a historic third title at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium.And the joy was evident on the faces of the players and they all spoke about how closely knit the group is and that resulted in the victory on the day.But the question is…will of them be together again? As the mega-auction nears, these players will have their fingers crossed to end up on the same side and plot a title defence once again.last_img

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