The second clash in IPL 2017 could see the scripting of a history of sorts when Rising Pune Supergiants (RPS) play their opening match against Mumbai Indians (MI) in the latter’s home ground in Mumbai today evening.
It will be a first since the inception of IPL in 2008 that star cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni (MSD), aka ‘Captain Cool’, will not captain his side and instead enter the field as just a wicket keeper-batsman.
It was under Dhoni’s leadership that Chennai Super Kings, now defunct, won the IPL tittle in the year 2010 and 2011. Besides, the franchise also lifted the Champions League T20 trophy in the year 2010.
Last year, during the IPL 2016 Players Draft, Dhoni was the first pick of the RPS.
But as the team did not perform well during the last season, looks like the franchise decided to replace the legendary cricketer with Aussie Steve Smith as captain.
On the brighter side, Dhoni will only be focussing on his performance in today’s match and won’t be under any stress to take critical decisions on the field.
Smith, however, is sure to seek advice from the most experienced cricketer in the format, under whom the team India won the 2007 World Twenty 20, and the 2011 World Cup.
In the last nine seasons of IPL, Dhoni has played 143 matches, but is yet to score a hundred.
MSD, so far, has made a total of 3271 runs in the IPL, averaging 39.40 runs per match. Dhoni’s biggest score was in the IPL 2011 when he scored an unbeaten 70 against Royal Challengers Bangalore, at the latter’s home ground.
A ton is long awaited from MSD’s bat.
Cricketing fans, needless to say, today would like MSD to let the bat speak on his behalf, and score a century today.