All set for the Final Maharashtrian derby

Mumbai Indians has lost to Rising Pune Supergiant on all three occasions this IPL. On Sunday night, it will have another opportunity to beat the Supergiant, and clinch the title for the third time.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who is set to play his seventh IPL final, will be Rising Pune Supergiant skipper Steve Smith's go-to guy against Mumbai Indians.   -  PTI

Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) virtually waltzed its way to the Indian Premier League (IPL) final. The youngest side in the fray is on a high as the tournament reaches its climax at the Rajiv Gandhi International stadium on Sunday.

It was a relatively rocky road to the showdown for Mumbai Indians (MI), which puffed and panted through the playoffs. Memories of three defeats to RPS may be hard to erase for MI.

READ: Rohit Sharma lauds MI's team effort

RPS's ability to adapt and improvise will be a big plus. The vagaries of wickets through the tournament haven’t dented its campaign much. Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s flourish at the finish at this very venue had made the Sunrisers Hyderabad’s (SRH) attack, the most potent of the tournament until then, look ordinary.

If the class of Steve Smith and Ajinkya Rahane bolster its batting; in bowling, Jaydev Unadkat should be a handful on this wicket, in which he excelled in his last game here. SRH might find it hard to forget the destruction he wreaked on it that evening. It will take a mighty effort from MI to stop RPS's momentum.

READ: Smith and Fleming: Upbeat but cautious

But MI, which has played three IPL finals, will rise to the occasion on Sunday. The occasion could add a few additional revs to Karn Sharma's legbreaks, tt could bring out the best in Rohit Sharma and Kieron Pollard.

Should Pune show the nervousness of a novice on the big stage, there will always be the steadying hand of Dhoni, who will be playing his seventh IPL final.

The pitch here has been two-paced at times in season 10 but mostly it favours the batsmen. A 13-day break and the hot weather might make the surface hard to predict. The guiles of Jasprit Bumrah and Unadkat’s incisive in-cutters should offer contrasting contours to the culmination of a largely bowler-driven season.

With the dice loaded so much in favour of RPS, MI will have to put on a magical performance to steal the thunder from its rival. 

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