IPL 2017 final: Enjoyed working with MS Dhoni and Stephen Fleming, says Steve Smith

first_imgRising Pune Supergiant have enjoyed massive turnaround under captain Steve Smith. Now as they chase their maiden Indian Premier League title in Sunday’s final against Mumbai Indians, Smith said it has been a “great little ride” for him.The 27-year-old Australian had replaced Mahendra Singh Dhoni as captain of the Pune franchise ahead of the start of this season. The change in captaincy appeared to have been prompted by Pune’s ordinary outing last year when they finished seventh in the points table after winning just five of their 14 matches.Although the decision raised many eyebrows, it has certainly yielded the desired results.Pune are just one win away from clinching the title and for a franchise, which won’t be getting an extension as per current rules, this will be an enormous achievement.Reflecting on his journey throughout the tournament, Smith said he had lot of fun working with Dhoni and coach Stephen Fleming.”I have had a lot of fun through this tournament. It has been a great little ride. We have played some great cricket to make it this far. Obviously, it has been a lot of fun to work with Fleming and MS Dhoni to try and get the best out of this group that we have.”We have played some consistent cricket at the back end of this tournament, which is very important heading into the business end. Great to have played the way we have. Hope we can put on one more good show,” Smith said on the eve of the final.advertisementOn paper, Pune have the upper hand against two-time champions Mumbai, considering that they defeated Mumbai thrice in this season, including a comprehensive 20-run win in the crucial Qualifier 1.Smith can take a lot of tips on absorbing the pressure in such a high-octane game from former India skipper Dhoni, who will be playing a record seventh IPL final.”It has obviously been a pretty compacted tournament this year. So the fact that we had a couple of days break to relax and regroup after a really good game against Mumbai, it has been nice. The guys had a good training session and we are all ready to go,” he said.Smith also lauded the likes the Rahul Tripathi and Washington Sundar, who played a key role in Pune’s road to the final.”Yeah, those guys are quite young and haven’t played these kind of high-pressure final games. That can play into your favour sometimes because you can just come out and play with freedom.”I thought Washington was absolutely fantastic against Mumbai the other night, for a 17-year-old to come out on the big stage against some quality players and to do what he did was outstanding.”Those guys, the young guys, have been a real big part of our success throughout this tournament. Hopefully they can have a bit of success on Sunday night too,” he said.last_img

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