Pratik: Pune's youngsters Shardul Thakur and Wasington Sundar have been impressive in the league and once again will be crucial in the middle over for Pune. Both Shardul and Sundar has picked up 5 wicket each so far. While Adam Zampa has been impressive as well since replacing Imran Tahir and has picked 3 wickets in as many matches for RPS.
Baidurjo: Led by Glenn Maxwell, Punjab' middle-order is in good knick and capable of batting out any opponent in the league if they get going. Skipper Maxwell has hit 310 runs on 13 matches, while Wriddhiman Saha has slammed 221 runs in 13 matches which also includes a score in the 90's recently. Not to forget Shaun Marsh who is due one big innings in the league.
Pratik: Pune's medium pacer Jaydev Unadkat has been in the form of his life in the league. In just 9 matches, he has picked up 19 wickets which also includes a hat-trick. He can be the perfect foil to Punjab's openers.
Bairdurjo: Let's talk about Punjab's batting now which has some of the most explosive batters in the world. Martin Guptil and Manan Vohra has been responsible in given KXIP good starts after Hashim Amla returned to his home country. Guptill has hit 132 runs on 6 matches and been important in giving brisk starts to his team. Vohra too has been in decent form, having hit 229 runs in 11 matches.
Pratik: I will agree with you on that. But Axar's record against MS Dhoni hasn't been great in the past as the former RPS skipper has slammed 63 off 37 deliveries that he has faced against the spinner. And to add to that, Axar hasn't dismissed MSD even once in the league previously.
Baidurjo: Even Punjab have got a all-rounder in their ranks, who may not be as big a name like Stokes, but has been equally effective in the league. Axar Patel has hit 205 runs so far and has picked up 14 wickets too. The all-rounder is KXIP's answer to RPS's Stokes.
Pratik: But I am sure there is no stopping Ben Stokes who has justified his price tag. The English all-rounder has become only the 10th player in the history of the league to slam 250+ runs and take minimum 10 wickets. He has been Pune's X-factor player of the season.
Baidurjo: But Smith hasn't been particularly successful against Mohit Sharma in the past and that will play in the mind of the RPS skipper. So far, Smith has only scored 27 runs in 31 deliveries that he has faced off Mohit Sharma. Plus Smith has also been dismissed by Sharma twice before. Besides, Mohit has been good form in the tournament as well where he has picked up 13 wickets in as many matches so far.
Pratik: But Pune's middle order has been in great form too, similar too their openers. Skipper Steven Smith has been RPS's best batsman in the tournament as has slammed 405 runs in 12 matches to become their highest run-getter. The Aussie has led from the front and expect him to star in this crucial match as well.
Baidurjo: To rattle the Pune openers, Punjab's pace spearhead Sandeep Sharma will come in handy. Sandeep has been KXIP's best bowler in the tournament and has been providing early wickets in almost every match. So far, Sandeep has picked up 17 wickets in 13 matches and he has been economical too.
Pratik: Agreed! But let's take a look at Pune's batting first which is clearly their strength. Opener Rahul Tripathi has been a revelation in this tournament and hit 360 runs in 11 matches. Ajinkya Rahane has been hot and cold in the tournament but his class cannot be discounter for. Even while he is not in his best form, the right hander has slammed 248 runs in 13 matches. These two have been crucial in giving RPS great starts throughout this campaign.
Baidurjo: But it's not only Punjab who is suffering from this, even Pune is missing their key players. RPS's most successful bowler Imran Tahir (18 wickets) is no longer with the team and it will be music to ears of Glenn Maxwell.
Pratik: Yes Pune were defeated by Punjab early on in the season but few players have left KXIP since then and it will have a huge bearing today. Hashim Amla, Eoin Morgan and David Miller have left for international duty and the absence of such players will be felt today.
Baidurjo:Let's take a look at the head to head stats first - the two teams have clashed 3 time in the past with Punjab coming out on top twice. While in IPL 10, Pune were blown away by Maxwell's 20-ball 44 as KXIP recorded as 6-wicket win.
Baidurjo: Yes that's right Pratik, there is so much riding on this match. If Pune manage to win this match, they will jump to the second spot in the league and will get two cracks at making it to the final. But if Punjab come out on top in this match, they will qualify for the play-off and Pune will be out of the tournament.
This match is being touted as the eliminator before the eliminator as whichever team manages come out on top in this match, will qualify for the play-offs. There is so much to talk about and debate as there is so much riding on this match for both RPS and KXIP.
My name is Pratik Sagar and I have with Baidurjo Bhose and together we will try to preview the match in best possible way for you.
Hello and welcome to the live blog of the blockbuster match between Rising Pune Supergiant and Kings XI Punjab at the MCA stadium in Pune.
There could not be a more exciting end to the league stage of the Indian Premier League (IPL) as a resurgent Kings XI Punjab will take on Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) in a virtual knock out clash at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune
We at CricketNext will dissect the upcoming contest through our statistics based analysis where we discuss which team has greater chances of coming out on top.