IPL Final: Mumbai Indians v Rising Pune Supergiant Preview

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We preview the final of IPL 10 set to be contested between the Mumbai Indians and the Rising Pune Supergiant.

Triumphant in 2013 and 2015's final, captain Rohit Sharma and company are chasing an unprecedented third title, while Steven Smith's team will target a maiden crown.

Pune have lost their most talismanic players of the tournament in leg-spinner Imran Tahir and all-rounder Ben Stokes, while Mumbai are hardly concerned about opening batsman Jos Buttler's exit.

MI v RPS | Sunday, 21 May 2017 | Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Hyderabad | 16:30

To Win Match
Indians 67/100 | Tie 35/1| Supergiant 5/4

Mumbai Indians
Personnel-wise, Mumbai face an intriguing quandary ahead of Sunday's finale. Aussie pace ace Mitchell Johnson and leg-spinner Karn Sharma were superb in the Qualifier 2 fixture against the Kolkata Knight Riders, but might need to be dropped in favour of the fit-again Mitchell McClenaghan and experienced Harbhajan Singh for this big encounter.

The composition of the seam attack poses the greatest perplexity. McClenaghan put in a big performance in 2015's final, while Johnson was key in 2013. They could both play this time, if Sri Lanka pace ace Lasith Malinga is overlooked, but his mastery of the slower ball effectively puts him above the Aussie and Kiwi in the pecking order.

Mumbai took the long way to the final, losing to Pune in the first qualifier and digging deep for victory over Kolkata in the second. Pune, meanwhile, only had to win one match - that straightforward success over Sunday's opposition - earlier in the week. Similar themes, indeed, will bring a really intriguing contest to end the tournament.

Mumbai, in fact, have failed to beat the Supergiant on the three occasions this season. Each time, opener Ajinkya Rahane has starred - despite a competition otherwise littered with low scores from the talented right-hander. Mumbai need to get rid of him early and, therefore, should select Karn - and perhaps let him open the bowling. Rahane has fallen to the leg-spinner two from three times this year.

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Rising Pune Supergiant
Batsman Manoj Tiwary's growing ability to shoulder a lot more responsibility has shot to the fore since Stokes left to be with the England camp ahead of their Champions Trophy campaign. Tiwary is hungry to prove himself, after messing up against the lowly Delhi Daredevils, and Sunday is as good an opportunity as any to do so.

The marvelous finishing skills of the seasoned Mahendra Singh Dhoni will again be on display. The timing of Dhoni's arrival at the crease, as usual, will be so vital. This is not his first rodeo, as he has played in IPL finals previously, with the now-defunct Chennai Super Kings, and - characteristically - almost single-handedly done it on his own.

Seamer Jaydav Unadkat and spinner Washington Sundar, particularly after the departure of Tahir, have career-defining matches ahead of them. The former is brimming with confidence on the back of a string of consistency, which brought him a hat-trick, and the latter is gradually etching a name for himself among the land's burgeoning stars. Neither can let the magnitude of the occasion get on top of them.

All eyes, meanwhile, remain on the weather. Rain heavily affected the Sunrisers Hyderabad's exit to the Knight Riders in the Eliminator, while it threatened to interfere in Friday's Qualifier 2. The forecast suggests nothing sinister in Uppal, thankfully. These dry conditions - and the fact that Hyderabad hasn't hosted an IPL match in almost two weeks - should see the toss-winning captain bowl first.

Verdict: Rising Pune Supergiant 5/4
We're backing a maiden title for Smith and company, who have hovered there and thereabouts in the standings this season - and capitalised on momentum when it counted most. A fourth consecutive victory over Mumbai for the season is on the cards.

Written by Jonhenry Wilson for @Hollywoodbets.net

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