Two of the most deserving teams, the Rising Pune Supergiant and the Mumbai Indians, will face each other in what will be yet another ‘Maharashtra Derby’ at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad in the all-important final of this season’s IPL.
 IPL 2017 Final, RPS vs MI

 Two of the most deserving teams, the Rising Pune Supergiant and the Mumbai Indians, will face each other in what will be yet another ‘Maharashtra Derby’ at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad in the all-important final of this season’s IPL.

Mumbai, being two-time champions, certainly hold the advantage. However, if they are to lay their hands on the coveted trophy for a record third time they will have to do something that they have not been able to do this season – defeat Pune. As imposing as it may sound, sometimes in a final, all it takes is one exceptional performance.

It could be anything, a short spell, a spectacular fielding effort or a quickfire knock. And that’s why both teams have some proven match-winners who can win the match single-handedly on their day.

Here are five players who can win the final single handedly for their team.

#1 Mahendra Singh Dhoni

Mahendra Singh Dhoni 

MS Dhoni is the ultimate finisher and match-winner. So often he has selected the biggest stage to answer his critics that nowadays it has become almost a norm that he will perform in the finals and the knockout matches.

A few days back, chairman of selectors, MK Prasad had defended the veteran’s selection in the Champions Trophy squad. Fast forward to the first qualifier where Pune were up against Sunday’s opponents, Mumbai. Dhoni turned back the clock and answered his critics in the best way possible. It was his blitzkrieg at that laid the groundwork for a comfortable victory, eventually.

On Sunday, as well, Pune will hope that the former Indian captain will be up to his tricks and finish off in style in his usual demeanour. A six from Dhoni to sign off a particularly enthralling IPL would certainly be the icing on the cake.

#2 Rohit Sharma

Rohit Sharma

Rohit Sharma has not had the best of seasons this year. However, he is, arguably one of the best Indian opening batsmen in limited overs cricket and this season’s ‘supposed’ failure with the bat could be pinned on his return from a long injury layoff.

There is no doubt on his batting prowess. On his day, there is not a single bowling attack in the world who can contain him. The ball would be flying to the fence and over the fence from his bat. But, of course, the thing is, that day hasn’t come too often this season. 

The Mumbai camp will certainly hope that Sunday is that day where Rohit, does not get out to a leggie and fires with the bat. He is due a big knock and Pune will run for shelter if that knock is delivered tonight.

#3 Steve Smith

Steve Smith

Steve Smith has enjoyed a successful first season as a captain in the IPL, leading his side from the front. He has got the runs when it mattered, making key contributions in his side’s victories, and has handled captaincy expertly.

Ever since coming to the spotlight in 2010-11, Smith has, on many occasions, shown that he is a very capable match-winner. Moreover, he has been in spectacular form in the last one year or so and has laid claim to the mantle of the number one batsman in the world.

This season he has been in top form, having amassed 421 runs from just 14 matches. He will be looking to play a big inning tonight as well and help his team win the title. The added motivation of winning it in his first season as IPL captain will certainly push him to give his best.

#4 Kieron Pollard

Kieron Pollard

Match-winners are those players who can single-handedly turn the match around in favour of their team and ensure victory. Kieron Pollard falls in the aforementioned category. With the bat, he can destroy any bowling attack on his day, with the ball he can break crucial partnerships and on the field, he is deceptively quick despite his burly physique.

It has been hard to fathom why the Mumbai Indians are reluctant of sending him up the order as once he settles in and gets in the groove, all the balls will just disappear into the crowd. Nevertheless, he has enjoyed his most productive season in the IPL this year, having scored three fifties.

In the match against Royal Challengers Bangalore earlier in the season, he scored a 48-ball 70, shredding the bowling attack. If he can replicate that performance in the final, Pune will be in a spot of bother.

#5 Jasprit Bumrah

 Jasprit Bumrah

Bumrah may only be 23 years of age and may not have that experience up his sleeve, but what he brings to the table is priceless. In his last two seasons for Mumbai Indians, the youngster has really made a mark; so much so, that now, instead of Lasith Malinga he is the go-to bowler for Rohit Sharma.

For someone who has only two stock balls in his arsenal, Bumrah achieved success like no other through his impeachable execution, consistency and calmness. The yorker and the short-of-length ball are his only variations, but the way he mixes up his pace and the consistency he exhibits are unparalleled.

If the super over against the Gujarat Lions in the league match and the way he bowled against the Kolkata Knight Riders in the Qualifier were anything to go by, it would be safe to say that Bumrah can win matches on his own.


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