IPL: How Rising Pune Supergiant and Mumbai Indians reached this year's final
By Sam Drury and Oli Burley
Last Updated: 21/05/17 3:30pm
After 59 games, 698 sixes, 694 wickets and countless memorable moments, the IPL reaches its conclusion when Rising Pune Supergiant take on Mumbai Indians in Sunday's final.
While Mumbai have triumphed twice before, RPS are looking for their first IPL title in just their second year in the competition.
Whether it is a hat-trick of titles for Mumbai or a maiden success for the Supergiant remains to be seen but both sides have earned themselves a shot at it. Here's how…
Rising Pune Supergiant
Group stage - Second: won nine, lost five
RPS caused quite a stir at the auction ahead of this year's tournament by making Ben Stokes the most expensive foreign player in IPL history, shelling out £1.7m for the England all-rounder.
However, after a woeful showing in 2016, questions were asked about how much Stokes could really help an ailing and unbalanced side. And when victory over Mumbai in their first game was followed by three successive defeats, those doubts look justified.
From that point on, though, RPS lost just two games in the group phase and Stokes showed himself to be worth every penny with a series of match-winning displays. He bowled the Supergiant to victories over RCB and Mumbai before his maiden T20 century downed Gujarat.
Despite seven wins in eight, a defeat to Delhi left Steve Smith's side needing to beat Kings XI to book their place in the playoffs and, with the pressure on, they did so emphatically. Kings XI collapsed to 73 all out and RPS cruised to a nine-wicket win with eight overs to spare.
Qualifier 1 - Beat Mumbai Indians by 20 runs
That victory over Kings XI not only secured Pune a place in the top four but propelled them up to second in the standings and to within one game of the final. Standing in their way were Mumbai, buoyed by home support.
Having lost two early wickets, RPS, without the departed Stokes, were struggling but rallied thanks to half-centuries from Ajinkya Rahane and Manoj Tiwary before some MS Dhoni fireworks late in the innings took them up to 162-4.
Three early wickets from Washington Sundar rocked Mumbai and they failed to recover, eventually finishing 20 runs short as RPS advanced to Sunday's showpiece with their ninth win in the last 11 matches, not to mention three wins over Mumbai already this season.
Group stage: First, won 10, lost four
Fee, Fi, Fo, Fum… Supergiant, Mumbai's nemesis in the tournament, squashed Rohit Sharma's side by seven wickets in the second match of IPL 10 with Steve Smith (84no) to the fore, at which point owners Reliance Industries were no doubt fearful of another pedestrian start.
The Pandya brothers had other ideas, though, and Krunal's 3-24 and Hardik's 29no off 11 balls against KKR sparked a revival that saw Mumbai win nine of their next 10 games, including a Super Over triumph over Gujarat Lions as Jasprit Bumrah successfully defended 11 runs.
The sole blemish in that run - a three-run defeat to Supergiant - came in their previous outing as Sharma (58 off 39) just failed to get his side across the line after Ben Stokes (2-21) picked up the wicket of Jos Buttler (17 off 13 balls).
With Buttler's race done, Mumbai rather stumbled into the qualifiers, suffering defeats to Sunrisers Hyderabad, desperately trying to revive their title defence, and a Wriddhimman Saha-inspired Kings XI Punjab, before rallying to secure top spot in the table thanks in no small part to Ambati Rayudu's 63.
Qualifier 1 - Lost to Rising Pune Supergiant by 20 runs
Mumbai's third defeat to RPS in as many games at least offered the not-so-insignificant consolation of knowing frontline bowlers Mitchell McClenaghan and Lasith Malinga can cause havoc at the top of Supergiant's order - Rahul Tripathi and Steve Smith scoring just one between them.
Sadly for the Indians, Washington Sundar returned fire-with-fire with only Parthiv Patel (52 off 40) standing up to be counted, leaving Mumbai mulling quite how to topple the Pune powerhouse. Kieron Pollard's response was typically phlegmatic: "The most important game is coming up."
Qualifier 2 - Beat Kolkata Knight Riders by six wickets
Given a second bite, Mumbai made no mistake as leggie Karn Sharma (4-16) and Jasprit Bumrah (3-7) rolled KKR over for 107 in 18.5 overs. Surely there'd be no Mumbai mishap this time?
At 34-3 the jury was out - and perhaps Mumbai might have been too but for the cool, calculating head of Krunal Pandya, whose unbeaten 45 off 30 balls made the chase the formality it should have been from the off.
Watch Mumbai Indians take on Rising Pune Supergiant in the final of Indian Premier League 10 - live on Sky Sports 4 from 2.45pm on Sunday.