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Smith lauds youngsters for Pune's IPL cricket success
January 19 2018, 05:34 | Rex Rios
Maharashtra batsman Rahul Tripathi's "Supergiant" effort in the league stages guided Pune to the final of the Indian Premier League (IPL), which he has described as a "dream experience". That too after finishing second from the bottom previous year.
"You need to win eight-nine games to make the play-offs and Smith told me that between him, (Imran) Tahir and (Ben) Stokes, we would win seven".
The 27-year-old Smith, who replaced Dhoni as skipper of the Pune franchise for the 10th edition of the IPL, said he has got vast respect for Dhoni both as a player and a leader.
"Like Mahela said, we have not had great history against Pune". "Obviously, we will derive a little bit of confidence because of our past results, but then a final is a different ball game altogether". MSD as he is popularly called should also open a cricket academy in collaboration with former colleagues like Sachin Tendulkar, Anil Kumble and their tribe to train young talent to excel playing for India.
"It's just good communication between the two of them. You need to concentrate on the process rather than thinking too far ahead". The team needs me at that time and I just want to bowl well and win the match for them.
In his match, they would be hoping that their batsman click as they have likes of Rahane, Smith who are in brilliant form this season. Furthermore, if the last two matches in Hyderabad are any indication, the pitch has shown a proclivity to deteriorate as the game progresses, rendering the role of the openers against the hard, new ball all the more important.
Another performer for Rising Pune has been Manoj Tiwary. With 421 runs from 14 games, he would be a very vital man in their batting line-up.
Fleming showered praise both on Dhoni and Smith.
Pune, who ended seventh in the eight-team Twenty20 tournament past year, had a mixed start this season only to pick up momentum towards the business end.
Quite a few domestic players like Rahul Tripathi and Washington Sundar have put their hands up and have delivered goods for Pune this season and Smith was mighty impressed with them. When Englishman Jos Buttler left for national duty, Mumbai got the hard-hitting West Indian Lendl Simmons as the opening partner with stumper Parthiv Patel.
The Pandya brothers - Krunal and Hardik - provide the all-round balance while West Indian Keiron Pollard has also been amongst the runs, as is Rohit of late.
It is up to the Mumbai Indians to solve the Rising Pune Supergiant puzzle, but will they be able to crack this RPS team, who now have a strong bowling attack to go with a solid batting lineup? In comparison, Mumbai thrashed 29 sixes against Kings XI after only two meetings, and 47 fours after three rounds against Knight Riders.