9:17 pm - Wednesday June 28, 2017

Rising Pune Supergiant, Gujarat Lions: Short but impressive journeys

204 Viewed Pallavi Kumar Comments Off on Rising Pune Supergiant, Gujarat Lions: Short but impressive journeys

Gujarat Lions finished top of the points table in IPL 2016 while Rising Pune Supergiant finished 2nd this year. Theirs will be a short journey but impressive nonetheless.

For all it’s worth, the Indian Premier League has given immense joy over the years to the billions calling the game of cricket their religion and for ten seasons at that.

Next season will see the return of two of the original franchises to grace the competition from its inception back in 2008, Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings.

The spot-fixing controversy hit the cash-rich league resulting in 2103, ousting of the Jaipur and Chennai-based franchises for a period of two years. It opened up two slots to be filled on the roster by the league’s governing council granting the rights to Sanjeev Goenka (CESC Ltd.) and Keshav Bansal (Intex Technologies) to field team from the cities of Pune and Rajkot. Rising Pune Supergiant and Gujarat Lions came into being.

A draft of players was organised from the two suspended teams to help form a core for the replacement teams, from which Pune got the likes of Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Ajinkya Rahane, Ravichandran Ashwin, Steve Smith and Faf du Plessis, while Gujarat picked Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Brendon McCullum, James Faulkner and Dwayne Bravo.

Rising Pune Supergiant

Pune had managed to recreate the Chennai formula with MS Dhoni and oach Stephen Fleming, but that couldn’t save the team, as they finished seventh in the league table. They could manage just five wins as Rahane scored a handsome total of 480 runs and Australian Adam Zampa picking up 12 wickets, the most respectively, for the team in that season.

If one sits down to analyse Pune’s second season and what they did differently to warrant a complete change of fortunes, can be narrowed down to one great change (no it’s not the vast change in name from Supergiants to Supergiant), but the arrival of English all-rounder Ben Stokes for the highest fee to be paid in the IPL. Coupled with the fact that MS Dhoni’s replacement as captain of the team by Steve Smith and also bringing in Imran Tahir  as a replacement for Mitchell Marsh .  After a topsy-turvy ride through the points table, Pune finished off their league campaign with a bang to end in second position on the table, having won nine off their 14 stipulated games this season.

Gujarat Lions

Gujarat seemed to have struck gold when they managed to prize away Suresh Raina away from the shadows of MS Dhoni, and named him their captain, evident from the first place finish in the league table. They won nine of their 4 games as captain Suresh Raina and Dhawal Kulkarni shone with the bat and bowl respectively. They lost the plot quickly after and with successive losses to Royal Challengers Bangalore and eventual winners, Sunrisers Hyderabad.

The Lions failed to replicate that success this year. Gujarat finished their campaign in the seventh position, a far cry from last season’s highs.  Unavailability and/or poor performances of their star all-rounders really hurt the team’s chances. James Faulkner was only a mere shadow of his former self, Raveindra Jadeja missed a couple of initial games and the fact that Dwayne Bravo was ruled out of the entire tournament, unbalanced the team composition.

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