The MS Dhoni-Stephen Fleming combo has been unable to work its magic for pune supergiants. Express takes a look at factors behind the team’s slide...
Dhoni is a skipper who likes to have a settled combination, but that has been eluding the team. Nearly all players, barring Ajinkya Rahane, have been inconsistent, adding to worries. Another big concern is the failure to find a couple of solid all-rounders. Mitchell Marsh, Irfan Pathan and Thisara Perera have all been tried out, with mixed results.
With Kevin Pietersen ruled out of the tournament with a calf injury, Steven Smith will need to step up in the middle overs, where RPS are lagging. The prolific Smith’s poor form has been a big blow for the team, and skipper Dhoni has had to give their innings the late flourish on more than one occasion. Albie Morkel, though, showed promise against KKR.
Ishant Sharma, the spearhead of their bowling, has been having a torrid time. He has been leaking runs, both in the powerplay and in slog overs. Their spin frailties, too, came to the fore in the previous game against KKR on a turning pitch at home. While the visitors capitalized on the generous turn on offer, the home bowlers failed to find the right line and length.
Lack of Faith
Dhoni has been ignoring R Ashwin for a while now. While the Tamil Nadu spinner’s patchy form has somewhat vindicated the skipper’s decision, better support from the captain could perhaps rejuvenate India’s most dependable bowler, currently. Against KKR, Ashwin went for runs early, but Dhoni probably missed a trick by not bowling him in the middle overs.