When Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) began the campaign for the Indian Premier League (IPL) Season 10, there were a lot of undercurrents of discontent, with Mahendra Singh Dhoni being stripped off captaincy and Steve Smith taking over, in the backdrop of a rather ill-tempered Test series between India and Australia.
But by the end of IPL 10, both Dhoni and Smith had been vindicated with telling effect as the side sailed into the final.
Here are the key matches in RPS' road to the final:
April 6, Mumbai Indians 184/3 lost to RPS 187/3 by 7 wkts: Smith (84*) and Ajinkya Rahane (60) gave RPS a big total before Imran Tahir made his presence felt immediately with figures of 3/28. RPS got off to a winning start.
April 16, RPS 161/8 beat Royal Challengers Bangalore 134/9 by 27 runs: After losing to Kings XI Punjab, Delhi Daredevils and Gujarat Lions in consecutive matches, finally, another win! Stokes (3/18), Shardul Thakur (3/35) and Jaydev Unadkat (2/25) decimated an underwhelming RCB while defending a modest total. RPS were back on tracks.
April 22, Sunrisers Hyderabad 176/3 lost to RPS 179/4 by 6 wkts: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (61*) finally joined the party, as did Rahul Tripathi (59) as RPS made easy work of SRH's challenging total.
April 24, RPS 160/6 beat MI 157/8 by 3 runs: Stokes (2/21) and Unadkat (2/40) were impressive with the ball and while fielding, while Washington Sundar started impressing. MI lost three wickets in the 20th over and surrendered to RPS the second time in IPL 10.
May 14, KXIP 73 lost to RPS 78/1 by 9 wkts: With 5 wins in their last 6 matches, RPS had clawed their way back and were involved in this must-win game with KXIP. The Pune bowlers destroyed Punjab's dreams, and RPS were in the Play-offs.
May 16, Qualifier 1, RPS 162/4 beat MI 142/9 by 20 runs: Dhoni did what only he can. A score of 40 not out off just 26 balls as RPS scored 41 runs in the last two overs gave Pune something to bowl at. Contributions also came from Rahane (56) and Manoj Tiwary (58). Sundar (3/16) and Thakur (3/37) then made up for the absence of Stokes and Tahir as RPS beat MI for the third time in IPL 10 and marched into the final, and now await Mumbai there.