Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS)
Rising Pune Supergiant are not a part of the Indian Premier League anymore. In fact, they were a part of the league for only two seasons. But even in that little time, they came agonizingly close to winning the trophy. The side came into existence after Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals were banned for a couple of seasons. The reason for the ban was the involvement of their owners in illegal betting.
Though a completely different entity, they were the second team in IPL to represent Pune. Previously, Pune Warriors India competed in the tournament. Though their home ground was the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium of Pune, they have played in the Dr. Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy ACA–VDCA Cricket Stadium, owing to the water crisis in Maharashtra.
Let us know about the now-disbanded franchise in detail:
Rising Pune Supergiant was owned by Sanjiv Goenka. He is one of the key people of the Rama Prasad Goenka group. an Industrial and services conglomerate who have their headquarters in Mumbai. He is also the co-owner of the Indian Super League franchise ATK.
Rising Pune Supergiant used a colour combination that was not used in IPL previously. Their logo featured a violet ball with golden wings. They announced their arrival in quite a fashion, as they roped in popular singer Mika Singh to sing their theme song. The song, called ‘Dum Ka Naya Rang‘ was an instant hit. They were initially called Rising Pune Supergiants. But after a very poor inaugural season, they decided to omit the ‘s’.
The Pune side had a horrible first season, despite assembling a good squad. They won only 5 out of their 14 matches and finished seventh in the points table. But the side made a great comeback in 2017. They made some new additions which turned out to be successful. Pune broke their bank to get the signature of English all-rounder Ben Stokes. They also axed Mahendra Singh Dhoni from captaincy, which created a lot of controversies.
Many expected the move to remove IPL’s one of the most successful captains from his leadership roles will backfire. However, it eventually turned out to be great move. Australian batsman Steve Smith did an amazing job as the skipper and took the team to the final. With Ravichandran Ashwin nursing a sports hernia, they roped in Washington Sundar as a replacement.
But it was another replacement who changed Supergiant’s fortune. Imran Tahir replaced the injured Aussie all-rounder Mitchell Marsh. He turned out to be one of Supergiant’s most influential members in the 2017 season. They also unearthed a great talent in Rahul Tripathi, while veterans like Manoj Tiwary and Ajinkya Rahane were also on the money.
The start to the season wasn’t bright, as after winning their first game against Mumbai Indians, they lost their next three games. Fans thought the season will be a repeat of the previous one, but Smith’s team turned it around with three successive wins. Prior to this, they had never won three games on the trot. They finished second in the points table and ensured a place in Qualifier 1. Though they won that game against Mumbai Indians, Rohit Sharma‘s side had the last laugh in the final. RPS needed 4 runs off the final delivery, but could only manage 2.
#Key Players and Support Staff
RPS management decided to stick with the highly successful coach of Chennai Super Kings, Stephen Fleming. Hrishikesh Kanitkar was roped in as his assistant. Former South African all-rounder Eric Simmons was the bowling coach of the side, while Prasanna Agoram was the performance analyst. Raghu Iyer was the CEO of the side.
Ajinkya Rahane was perhaps the most consistent player of the side. He scored 862 runs for them. Their skipper Steve Smith was also instrumental with the bat. He scored 742 runs but played 7 matches less than Rahane. Steve Smith had a great average of over 40, whereas Rahane’s average was a notch over 33. Though he wasn’t successful as a skipper, MS Dhoni was good with the bat and maintained an average of over 30.
Jaydev Unadkat did most of the job amongst the pacers, but Pune was blessed with two quality spinners. Imran Tahir and Adam Zampa were brilliant for them. While Zampa took 19 wickets in 11 games, Tahir picked up 18 wickets in 12 games. Ben Stokes was influential for them in all three departments. Though often criticized for being expensive, Ashok Dinda was brilliant for the Supergiant franchise. He picked up 12 wickets in as many games, but it was his economical bowling that caught many by attention.