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IPL-10: Pune eye play-off spot against Delhi

IANS logoIANS 12-05-2017

Sitting at the third spot with eight wins and four losses, Pune are currently on 16 points. They will like to continue their form and will be eager to bag two crucial points from this tie which will put them at the joint top spot with Mumbai Indians and gurantee them a berth in the knock-out stage.

However, Pune has suffered a setback as in-form England all-rounder Ben Stokes will mis the rest of the IPL since he will have to do duty for his national team.

Stokes -- the most expensive foreigner in IPL history -- is supposed to join the England squad ahead of the three match ODI series against South Africa which starts on May 24.

England are scheduled to play two practice matches ahead of the series on May 19 and 21 and England and Wales and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) Director Andrew Strauss reportedly wants all the top England players to attend the training camp ahead of the South Africa series.

Delhi, on the other hand, are languishing at the bottom of the IPL standings and are already out of contention for the play-offs as they only managed to have five wins in 12 league matches so far.

Delhi have once again been hugely inconsistent this season. Their bowling line-up, on paper at least, is one of the strongest in the IPL but has failed to step up to the occasion.A

The batting has also been inconsistent as their top and middle-order batsmen failed to click in unison.A

Looking to salvaging some pride, the Zaheer Khan-led side, however, can take some positives ahead of the match as they defeated Gujarat Lions by two wickets in a thriller contest on Wednesday.

Chasing a mammoth 196, Delhi lost half their side for 105 runs before Shreyas Iyer (96) and Australian Pat Cummins' cameo (24 off 13 balls) guided the visitors to the win.

Pune, meanwhile, will aim to carry on their winning momentum.

Young opening batsman Rahul Tripathi, who performed consistently throughout the tournament, has emerged as the find of the tournament for the Pune side.

The visitors will be hoping for another good performance from the Maharashtra right-hander along side skipper Steve Smith, Manoj Tiwary, Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Ben Stokes.

Pune's main concern will be the form of the other opener Ajinkya Rahane, who has failed to complement the hard-hitting Tripathi at the top.

The bowlers are also in good form. Jaidev Unadkat, who returned with figures of 5/30 from his four overs, including the hat-trick in the final over against Sunrisers Hyderabad, will also boost the bowling line-up.

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