Match 55 IPL 2017 (2017-05-14) @ Pune (SRSS)
Punjab won 2 of the 3 matches between these 2 sides. When the two sides met earlier in the season at Indore Punjab restricted Pune to 163 in their 20 overs. Punjab knocked the runs off with 6 balls to spare. All their batsmen chipped in and Maxwell finished the chase off with 44 not out off 20 balls.
Pune started their season beating Mumbai. They then lost 3 matches in a row. They then won 7 matches in 8 attempts before losing their last match against Delhi.
They missed Imran Tahir against Delhi who has left the IPL to play for South Africa. He was their top wicket taker for the season and a vital part of the team. They restricted Delhi to 168 with all their bowlers apart from Thakur going at under 8 an over. The run chase was poor on a tricky pitch with only Smith, Tiwary and Stokes reaching double figures.
Punjab started the season with 2 wins. They then lost 5 out of their next 6 matches. They have turned their season around recently winning 4 matches from 5.
They have won their last 2 matches against tabling topping KKR and Mumbai. Against KKR they batted first and then bowled well to restrict them to 153. Against Mumbai the team smashed 230 and just managed to hold off a late surge by Pollard at the end.
Rahul Tewatia played his first matches of the season in those 2 victories. The leg spinner impressed in both matches taking 3 wickets and bowling economically. Sandeep Sharma has bowled well throughout the tournament and Mohit Sharma is starting to find form.
Punjab lost David Miller and Hashim Amla to South African duties. Amla has been missed more as he is Punjab's top run scorer. They have however won their last 2 matches without him. Saha opened the batting against Mumbai and scored a brilliant 93 off 55 balls anchoring the innings.
The Pune pitched favors batting second in IPL matches. Since 2014 the team batting second has won 64% of matches. These figures should be taken with caution as this is a day match.
Punters cannot split the two teams on Betfair. Punjab are on a roll and have won their last 2 matches. Only poor fielding against the Lions has stopped them winning their last 5. Pune looked over their peak in their loss to Delhi on Friday. I have backed Punjab to win at 2.0 on Betfair.
Ajinkya Rahanetand Rahul Tripathi open the batting for Pune. Rahane has 248 runs for the season with a poor strike rate of 119. Tripathi has played well. He has 360 runs with a strike rate of 152.
Steve Smith and Manoj Tiwary bat at 3 and 4. Smith is Pune's top run scorer with 405. He has accumulated runs but has not scored quickly. He has a strike rate of 128. This is particularly a problem if Tripathi is the first wicket to fall. Tiwary has 259 runs with a strike rate of 144.
The Pune middle order is Dhoni, Stokes and Christian. Dhoni has scored slowly. He has 240 runs with a strike rate of just 114. Stokes has batted well. He has 316 runs with a decent strike rate of 143. Christian has only batted 8 times. He has just 75 runs but has a high strike rate of 160.
Jaydev Unadkat is now Pune's top wicket taker with 19. He has gone at 7.9 an over. Shardul Thakur has also bowled seam. He has 5 wickets but he was very costly against Dehli. He went for 35 runs in 3 overs.
Ben Stokes and Dan Christian make up the pace attack. Stokes has 12 wickets and has been economical going at 7.5 an over. Christian has been even more miserly going at 7.3 an over. He has 7 wickets.
Adam Zampa has taken over from Tahir as the overseas spinner. He bowled well against Delhi taking 1 for 29 off his 4 overs. Washington Sundar is the second spinner. He has 5 wickets for 8 matches with an economy rate of 7.1 an over.
Punjab has lost Amla at the top of the order. He is their top run scorer with 420 runs with a strike rate of 146. Wriddhiman Saha and Martin Guptill opened in their win against KKR when they scored 230.
Guptill scored 36 from 18 balls. He now 132 runs from 6 matches with a strike rate of 152. Saha scored a brilliant 93 from 55 balls. Saha should continue to open. He now has 220 runs for the season. The other option is Mana Vohra who has opened but can also bat down the order. He has 229 runs with a strike rate of 144.
Glenn Maxwell batted at 3 against Mumbai. He scored 47 off 21 balls. He now has 310 runs for the season with a huge strike rate of 176.
Shuan Marsh and Axar Patel are the other batsmen in this flexible line-up. Marsh has 254 runs from 7 innings. He has a strike rate of 140. Axar has played some useful innings. He has 205 with a strike rate of 144.
Punjab looked a batsmen light with the team they played against Mumbai but still managed to score 230 with aggressive batting.
Sandeep Sharma is Punjab's top wicket taker. He has 17 wickets with an economy rate of 8.4. Mohit Sharma has 13 wickets but has been going at 9.1 an over. Ishant Sharma has also been expensive. He has no wickets in 5 matches and has an economy rate of 9.8.
Matt Henry has played as an overseas player the last 2 matches. He has been extremely poor going at 14.5 an over and taking 1 wicket. I am not sure if Morgan is back in India but surely he should play as an extra batsmen instead of Henry if he is available.
Other pace options are Varun Aaron and Natarajan. Natarajan has been expensive going it 9.3 an over. Aaron has been better. He has 7 wickets from 6 matches with an economy rate of 8.1.
Axar Patel is Punjab's top spinner. He has 14 wickets with an economy rate of 7.6. Rahul Tewatia has been picked to bowl his leg spin the last 2 matches. He has been excellent taking 3 wickets and going at 5.8 an over. Maxwell has also bowled well taking 7 wickets with an economy rate of 6.5.
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