"He has been a good player for us, he has been good from a leadership point of view and we hope that he has a good final tomorrow", Fleming told the media on the eve of the final on Saturday.
After beating Mumbai in Qualifier-1, Smith's men had a three-day break.
With advantage RPS, Steve Smith and unit will come into the game with their chins up after having knocked Mumbai Indians at all the three times they came face to face this season. Well played Dhoni. Go for the kill in the finals and hope we have a cracker of a game in the IPL finale where Pune now seems the hot favourite to win the tourney! MI's strength has been their bench with like for like replacements.
Among the bowlers, veteran Australian pacer Mitchell Johnson and Karn have tormented the batsmen after replacing New Zealand's Mitchell McClenaghan and Harbhajan Singh respectively.
Mumbai chased down a paltry 108 with 33 balls to spare after leg-spinner Karn Sharma (4/16) and pacer Jasprit Bumrah (3/7) decimated the strong KKR batting line-up. In Malinga and Bumrah - they have the best death bowlers in the business. And not just them, the Pandya brothers - Hardik and Krunal - too have emerged as top all-rounders. Along with The Gujarat Lions, RPS were roped in to fill the absence of suspended Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals after a Supreme Court order following the infamous 2013 IPL spot-fixing scandal which rocked the league.
7 Number of IPL final appearances for MS Dhoni, the most in the tournament's history.
In terms of performance, Dhoni hasn't exactly set the stage on fire but his contribution in two of the victories have had a telling impact.
In three matches, Rising Pune have only allowed Mumbai to hit 23 sixes and 35 fours.
On the other hand, Supergiant won't be getting an extension as per current rules, and will be aiming to end their association with the IPL with a silverware. "Once you are not a captain, you move on".
After a dismal domestic season, where he could manage just 185 for his state side, the 26-year-old left all that behind once he was picked by RPS. I think both the teams have played some really good cricket to get this far of the tournament.
For the uninitiated, there is no dearth of cash in IPL - the most lucrative T20 league of the world - who will also be handing Rs 6.4 crore each to the 3rd and 4th team in the playoffs - being Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kolkata Knight Riders.
Opening batsman Tripathi (388 runs in 13 games) remains Pune's second highest run-getter behind Smith, providing the team with many quick starts in the current season. He along with Captain Steve Smith would have sat down to get rid of the leakage in their batting line up. Manoj Tiwary (317) has also played his part to perfection. All of this coupled with the exuberance of Ben Stokes (312 runs, 12 wickets) and Imran Tahir pushed the team to the fore.