IPL 2017, RPS vs MI Preview: Litmus Test For Steve Smith

Updated: 06 April 2017 14:17 IST

Steve Smith's Rising Pune Supergiant take on the might of Mumbai Indians in their IPL 2017 opener.

IPL 2017, RPS vs MI Preview: Litmus Test For Steve Smith
Steve Smith replaced Mahendra Singh Dhoni as captain of the Rising Pune Supergiant. © BCCI

The distinction between the two sides is notable in that while Rising Pune Supergiant captain Steve Smith has been in the headlines, mostly for the wrong reasons, over the past two months, his Mumbai Indians counterpart Rohit Sharma has been on the fringe and largely invisible since he was sidelined by injuries. This will also be a litmus test for Smith since he has just recently taken over the reins of captaincy from Mahendra Singh Dhoni and needs to lift RPS from a pretty poor tournament last year.

Rohit, on the other hand, will be looking to make a return to match action with the India colours in mind, since he has been out of the Indian team for quite a while now.

On the face of it, RPS' challenges are not just about how Smith is going to justify his choice as captain. They will also have to deal with the absence of Ravichandran Ashwin in the bowling attack, an absence that could be telling in the long run.

MI, on the other hand, have added Australian fast bowler Mitchell Johnson to their line-up. He has been in the news off late for tweeting about India and Royal Challenger Bangalore captain Virat Kohli, so he may get a fairly hot reception wherever he plays.

His potential face-off with Kohli is also something most people would be looking forward to.

Nevertheless, he adds considerable meat to the MI bowling, while Sri Lankan great Mahela Jayawardene adds class to the coaching.

That said, Smith has been in sensational form with the bat and with Dhoni, freed of all burdens of captaincy, could well make the backbone of a formidable batting line-up, which may well challenge most bowling attacks.

Complete squads:

Rising Pune Supergiant: Steve Smith (C), Mayank Agarwal, Ankit Sharma, Baba Aparajith, Ankush Bains, Rajat Bhatia, Deepak Chahar, Rahul Chahar, Dan Christian, MS Dhoni (w), Ashok Dinda, Faf du Plessis, Lockie Ferguson, Imran Tahir, Jaskaran Singh, Usman Khawaja, Ajinkya Rahane, Saurabh Kumar, Ben Stokes, Milind Tandon, Manoj Tiwary, Adam Zampa, Jaydev Unadkat, Ishwar Pandey, Rahul Tripathi, Shardul Thakur.

Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (C), Jasprit Bumrah, Jos Buttler, Shreyas Gopal, Krishnappa Gowtham, Asela Gunaratne, Harbhajan Singh, Mitchell Johnson, Kulwant Khejroliya, Siddhesh Lad, Mitchell McClenaghan, Lasith Malinga, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Parthiv Patel (wk), Kieron Pollard, Nicholas Pooran, Deepak Punia, Nitish Rana, Ambati Rayudu, Jitesh Sharma, Karn Sharma, Lendl Simmons, Tim Southee, Jagadeesha Suchith, Saurabh Tiwary, Vinay Kumar.

  • Rising Pune Supergiant face Mumbai Indians in 2nd match of IPL 2017
  • Focus will be on Pune's new captain Steve Smith
  • Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma is returning after an injury layoff
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