Rising Pune Supergiants must win this match if they are to keep their hopes of qualifying for the playoffs alive © AFP
Rising Pune Supergiants must win this match if they are to keep their hopes of qualifying for the playoffs alive © AFP

Every game from here on is going to be important for Rising Pune Supergiants (RPS) as they take on Delhi Daredevils (DD) in their next match in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2016 at Delhi on Thursday. RPS have just two wins in eight matches and with six matches to go, their chances of making it to the Playoffs seem very less. Their problems have been worsened by the fact that their key players like Faf du Plessis, Kevin Pietersen, Steven Smith and Mitchell Marsh have been ruled out for the rest of the season due to injuries. But they do have a couple of able replacements in the form of George Bailey and Usman Khawaja. Let’s have a look at the XI, MS Dhoni  is likely to field in this match.  Full Cricket Scorecard: Delhi Daredevils vs Rising Pune Supergiants, IPL 2016, Match 33 at Delhi

Top-order: Saurabh Tiwary did a splendid job in the previous match, scoring 57 off just 45, but he will have to make way for Usman Khawaja to take his place in the team. Khawaja, who has been in good form over the last year or so across formats will open the innings with Ajinkya Rahane, who has been one of their better players this season. Tiwary can come in at No. 3. RPS will want to make the best of the good form he is in. Delhi Daredevils vs Rising Pune Supergiants, IPL 2016, Match 33 at Delhi:Preview

Middle-order: Bailey will be entrusted to ensure that he anchors the innings well. He is most likely to come in at No. 4. Bailey has played in the IPL in the past when he was a part of Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) and will certainly be familiar with the conditions. He should not find it difficult to get going immediately. Peter Handscomb has had very little success in the couple of matches he has played so far. But he will get another game due to the lack of options. RPS will have to look for replacements a couple of players and when they come, Handscomb’s chances in the side may become limited. This therefore could turn out to be the last chance to make an impact.

MS Dhoni is someone, who can bat at any position from No. 4 to No. 7, depending on the situation of the match. He may consider promoting himself to No. 4 or 5 to have more of an impact in the match. Thisara Perera has picked up nine wickets, but has disappeared for nine an over.  RPS may look to Albie Morkel for this game. Dhoni has the likes of Perera or even Morkel, who can come in the later stages of the game and start hitting. Both of them have the ability to clear the field with ease and their selection will eventually come down to who Dhoni thinks will be the better bowler on the day. RPS also have Rajat Bhatia, who along with his gentle medium pacers, can play a handy knock low down the order.

Bowlers: Ashok Dinda has been in good form up front and he is certain to retain his place in the side. We could however see Ishant Sharma return to the side to open the bowling with Dinda. Ishant has played four games so far, picking up three wickets. The spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Murugan Ashwin have bowled well in tandem. While Ravichandran bowls one economical over after the other, Murugan makes full use of this and picks up a wicket or two, although he does go for run at times.  RPS have the option of Bhatia as well. He has been one of their most economical bowlers this season. Morkel in his five overs in IPL 2016 has conceded 66 runs, but it may be worth giving him a run, considering Perera has not been at his best in the last couple of matches.

RPS’ likely XI: Ajinkya Rahane, Usman Khawaja, Saurabh Tiwary, George Bailey, Peter Handscomb, MS Dhoni (c & wk), Albie Morkel/Thisara Perera, Rajat Bhatia, Ravichandran Ashwin, Murugan Ashwin, Ashok Dinda.

(Pramod Ananth is a reporter at CricketCountry. He has represented Karnataka table tennis under-15, and is a hardcore supporter of Liverpool FC. His Twitter handle is @pramz)