When Rising Pune Supergiant lost three out of their first four matches this season, the ghosts of last season would have certainly lingered above their head. It appeared as if another disappointing season was on the cards for the Pune-based outfit before they turned the things around in the next eight games. They managed to win seven games in that period, losing only one and have now put themselves in pole position to finish in the top-four.
Kings XI's late flourish in the league has meant that Supergiant's spot in the playoffs is still not confirmed. Thankfully, though, Steve Smith's men have their fate in their own hands. It was evident that that they mean business when Jaydev Unadkat, one of the key reasons behind their turnaround, was the first one to step inside Feroz Shah Kotla to have a bowl at the side wicket during his side's practice session. Unadkat has provided RPS a much-needed option at the death, where he has kept the runs in check by picking up wickets, and on a surface that has witnessed some huge scores in the last few games, his efficiency will once again come to the fore for the visitors.
Apart from Unadkat, Ben Stokes's form has contributed to the revival big time as well. The Englishman found the going tough initially but has since redeemed himself to deliver with both bat and ball. Supergiant certainly go into this contest with their tails up and if there is any iota of concern, that would be right at the top of the order where Ajinkya Rahane, quite surprisingly, has failed to fire this season. But there is right now no better surface than the one at Kotla (maybe Wankhede?) for the opener to get back to his scoring ways to complement the free-flowing Rahul Tripathi.
For the Daredevils, it is all about finishing the tournament on a high with two wins at home that can boost their position on the table. Even though they suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of Mumbai in front of their supporters that brought their campaign coming to a grinding halt, Daredevils put that performance behind them to chase down 196 against Gujarat Lions on Wednesday. The fact that they were able to pull through without major contributions from Rishabh Pant and Sanju Samson would have pleased the team management. They will be pinning their hopes on the young batting lineup once again.
What: Delhi Daredevils vs Rising Pune Supergiant, May 12, 2017 - 20:00 IST
Where: Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi
What to expect: The temperatures are once again expected to remain warm. With dew playing a role in the second innings in recent games, both teams would ideally love to bowl first.
Delhi Daredevils: Pant hurt his thumb quite badly during the last game against Lions. He still managed to bat in that game but looked quite uncomfortable since the blow. It remains to be seen if Daredevils risk playing him less than 48 hours after the incident. The management might also be tempted to give Ben Hilfenhaus a go.
Probable XI: Sanju Samson, Karun Nair, Rishabh Pant (wk), Shreyas Iyer, Marlong Samuels, Corey Anderson, Carlos Brathwaite, Pat Cummins/Ben Hilfenhaus, Amit Mishra, Zaheer Khan, Mohammed Shami
Rising Pune Supergiant: Adam Zampa was seen having a bowl right at the start of the team's practice session alongside Unadkat but Supergiant are unlikely to tinker with their combination.
Probable XI: Ajinkya Rahane, Rahul Tripathi, Steven Smith (c), MS Dhoni (wk), Ben Stokes, Manoj Tiwary, Daniel Christian, Washington Sundar, Shardul Thakur, Jaydev Unadkat, Imran Tahir