Steve Smith applauded MS Dhoni’s 40 not out off 26 balls after Rising Pune Supergiant reached their maiden Indian Premier League final beating Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede Stadium on Tuesday.MS Dhoni’s explosive innings at the end, which was laced with 5 sixes, steered Pune to a competitive total of 162 .”It was a big day and big players stepped up. I thought MS was magnificent at the end with Manoj Tiwary. Rahane batted beautifully at the start to give us a chance to have a launch pad at the end,” Smith said in the post-match presentation.About the 41 runs that Pune scored in the last two overs, Smith said that it released some pressure of the bowling.”That was the momentum we needed going into the bowling innings. I thought the execution was fantastic. It was a slow wicket and it was difficult to time the ball but MS and Manoj did a terrific job to get a few over the fence and get us to that total,” Smith said.Smith said that with Ben Stokes gone, they were a batsman less and had to plan their batting accordingly.”With Stokesy gone, we got Lockie Ferguson and so we had to be a little conservative with our batting but we timed the run well and to get to 160 was a very good total,” Smith added.Smith went on to say that it is good that they churned out good performances at the right time and he’s proud of the effort that the team has put.advertisement”You need to peak at the right time in tournaments like this. We’ve played some really good cricket, coming back from a big win against Kings XI Punjab. Proud of the boys to have stepped up today. We didn’t let them hit a lot, bowled back of a length and tried to take the pace off the ball and that’s worked for us right throughout the tournament and tonight,” Smith said.Smith said that though the wicket did get some dew later on but the wicket remained quite the same throughout the match and that helped.Smith also applauded the efforts of Washington Sundar, who returned with the figures of 4-16-3 and picked the crucial wickets of Rohit Sharma, Ambati Rayudu and Kieron Pollard.”Magnificent (talking about Sundar). Big stage and it’s never easy when batters are trying to go after you but his lengths were magnificent. He’s been very good for us throughout the tournament and hopefully he can have another good one for us in the final.” (Rohit gutted after Mumbai Indians’ worst batting performance)Sundar, on the other hand, said that Dhoni, who reached his record seventh IPL final, has been supportive to him and hoped to lift the trophy.”I think it’s very heartening for me to do well against a big team on a good stage, in front of a packed crowd. Owe this to my parents, their prayers are the reason I did this. I think keeping things simple makes me do things like this. Mahi bhai has been supportive. Right now, I am not looking to be experimental. I am just looking to go there and back myself. I think we could lift the trophy in the finals as well,” Sundar said after receiving the man-of-the-match award.Smith added that they would like to relax a bit in the 4-day break they’ve got and hoped that they can be the better team in the final and lift the IPL trophy.
1) However the midfield looks, make sure Tyler Adams is a sixA new cycle for the US began with a 2-0 loss to an obviously superior Brazil, a 1-0 victory over Mexico side just as youthful as the opposition, and a new set of questions regarding the midfield. Against Brazil, interim coach Dave Sarachan set up defensively, giving Wil Trapp, Weston McKennie, and Tyler Adams the start. The results were mixed and likely the product of playing a side boasting impressive depth and quality, as the US frequently conceded possession and did little with it once they got it back. Matters were not much better when Sarachan added Kellyn Acosta, another central midfielder, to the group against Mexico, as they hardly found a rhythm despite playing a more evenly-match opponent. Yet, one bright spot was Adams, who had a tough time against Brazil but still managed to do the defensive work and play smart passes to advance the ball. He excelled in the final 20 minutes against a 10-man Mexico, and also managed an intelligent 35-yard run to score his first international goal. While he can do a job on the right side, it is clear that the US may have figured out at least one part of the midfield puzzle after this pair of friendlies.2) Miazga and Brooks emerge at top of center-back pecking order Tyler Adams’ maiden goal lifts USA to first win over Mexico in three years Topics USA US sports Read more Share on Twitter It seems as if Sarachan has established a ranking of his available center-backs, with Miazga playing both matches during the international break. Brooks left camp early, but not before putting in a man-of-the-match display against Brazil. The two seemed to connect well despite conceding twice to the five-time world champions, doing well to limit the opponent as much as they could. Brooks, having already played in a World Cup, is one of the more experienced members of the new look USMNT, and was always expected to be a starter in this cycle. However, Miazga has established himself as the current favorite to join him in the backline, doing well in the air and positionally solid against both Brazil and Mexico. Cameron Carter-Vickers played in Brooks’s absence against Mexico and looks to be third in line, though that spot may be up for grabs considering he has yet to fully establish himself at international level.3) Figure out what to do with too few wingers in the poolThe latest USMNT squad boasted many central midfielders, but few wingers. Julian Green was really the only midfielder able to play wide, though he has spent much of the last year in the center for Greuther Fürth and played there against Mexico. Adams and Acosta got minutes out wide, but neither are at their best in that position, while the missing Christian Pulisic might be in the same scenario despite being capable on the wing. The solution may be to give DeAndre Yedlin and Antonee Robinson attacking responsibilities while slotting in at right- and left-back, respectively. Yedlin in particular has the speed that is crucial in that role. That could lead to the US playing a back three, allowing Brooks, Miazga, and Carter-Vickers to play together.4) Assess whether some of the more experienced players still have a role to playSomewhat forgotten in the last ten months have been the leaders from the 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign. Since then, the team has quickly ushered in a younger generation of players that may comprise one of the better US rosters in recent history. Yet, there are some obvious holes in that pool. In addition to the lack of depth in wide positions, the US is lacking options at forward. Bobby Wood and Gyasi Zardes split starts against Brazil and Mexico, but neither truly impressed, while Andrija Novakovich got too few minutes to prove his worth one way or another. In that case, Jozy Altidore is arguably the player best suited to play up front. With spots relatively full at goalkeeper, center-back, and central midfield, those that are older, like Michael Bradley and Geoff Cameron, may miss out if the US make it to the 2022 World Cup.5) The USMNT needs a vision, delivered by a permanent head coachWhile Sarachan’s work as an interim coach has bee useful – he has expanded the player pool and given young players opportunities – but he may have overstayed his welcome. The team lacks genuine personality under him, which is fine for a short period. However, it gives his successor less time to work with the players before the team returns to competitive action in next year’s Gold Cup. Sarachan’s conservative set-up leads to matches where the US looks aimless, making it very difficult to beat teams with more concrete philosophies. Additionally, any emerging issues on the pitch can only be solved by someone with a long-term plan in mind, which is a difficult ask of an interim manager. Only then can the US take advantage of its most exciting pool in recent memory, and perhaps realize the potential many have been discussing over the last year. features Share on Messenger Share via Email Share on Pinterest Share on LinkedIn Share on WhatsApp Share on Facebook Reuse this content