IPL 2016: Chase specialist Rohit takes MI to win on Maharashtra Day

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Image Courtesy: © IPL

IPL 2016: Chase specialist Rohit takes MI to win on Maharashtra Day

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Arun S Kaimal


Rohit Sharma once again starred in a chase as he scored his fifth half-century of the season to defeat RPS by eight wickets and register their third win on the trot. Earlier, Jasprit Bumrah’s 3/29 restricted Pune to 159/5 after they looked set for a huge score making 93 runs in the first ten.

Brief Scores: RPS 159/5 in 20 overs (Tiwary 57(45), Smith 45(23), Bumrah 3/29) lost to MI 161/2 in 18.3/20 (Rohit 85*(60), Buttler 27*(17), Ashwin 1/21) by eight wickets

Rohit Sharma has been a sensation batting second in this season of IPL scoring 84*, 62, 65 and 68* in the four innings, and once again he displayed his array of shots at the MCA stadium in Pune on Maharashtra Day. After two quiet overs in their chase of 160, the Mumbai Indians skipper upped the ante in the third over by taking Thisara Perera to the cleaners in the third over. The 16-run over was followed by a 15-run over, with Parthiv Patel taking the role of the aggressor this time. However, the left-hander’s attempt to score more in the last ball gave Dhoni a catch off Ashok Dinda.

Although Parthiv fell in the fourth over, Rohit and Ambati Rayudu took the innings forward by cashing in whenever opportunities appeared. Two maximums in consecutive overs off Ashwin and Bhatia kept the required run rate in check as the reigning champions finished the first half of the innings with 76 runs on board.

84 more runs were needed off the last ten, and with nine wickets in hand, the target looked achievable. With the team in need of a breakthrough, Ashwin removed Rayudu in the 12th over to end the 52-run partnership for the second wicket. However, Rohit Sharma was still there and he, along with Jos Buttler, made light work of the rest of the runs, taking his team to their third win on the trot with nine balls to spare. Rohit Sharma also brought up his fifth half-century of the season, all chasing, and finished with 85 off 60 to end the last match in Maharashtra on a winning note. 

Earlier, Rising Pune Supergiants, who managed just two wins out of the first seven matches, welcomed the reigning champions to their den, hoping for a similar result they registered against their Maharashtra rivals in the opening game of the IPL season. The M S Dhoni-led side have been plagued with injuries, and to add to that injury-list, which already has Kevin Pietersen and Faf du Plessis, the Pune side have also lost Aussie all-rounder Mitchell Marsh with a side strain. With the bowling being the main problem of the side, Australian pacer Scott Boland came into the starting line-up in place of Albie Morkel for the final match in Maharashtra.

The defending champions, on the other hand, had finally registered two consecutive victories in the season by beating Kings XI Punjab and Kolkata Knight Riders, and went into the match with an unchanged line-up hoping to make it three on the trot. Batting second has been the flavour of the season so far, and Mumbai Indians won the toss to choose the obvious.

Mitchell McClenaghan has been Mumbai’s strike bowler this season picking up 12 wickets in the eight matches, and he added one more to his kitty in his opening over by removing Ajinkya Rahane. With the Pune side’s leading run-scorer of the season back in the pavilion, the start seemed to be a terrible one. But, Steve Smith, fresh from a century against Gujarat Lions, and Saurabh Tiwary made sure that the powerplay did not go waste by taking the attack to the bowlers. Smith started by sending Southee to the ropes three times on the trot in the third over, before smashing McClenaghan for a six and a four in the next over. 54 runs came in the powerplay as the partnership between the duo looked worrying for the defending champions.

Tiwary played second-fiddle to Smith during the first six, but turned into the main aggressor in the seventh over. Twenty runs came in that over bowled by Krunal Pandya with Tiwary depositing the ball twice into the stands behind the midwicket boundary. In an attempt to break the partnership Rohit brought Bumrah back into the attack in the 10th over and the right-arm pacer delivered by removing Smith for 45, which he had scored off just 23 balls. Smith’s attempted dab to third man proved to be too fine for comfort and the ball crashed into Parthiv Patel’s gloves to end the 84-run partnership.

The wicket brought an end to the run flow as the run rate dipped from 10.11 at the end of ninth over to 8.23 by the 13th over. Peter Handscomb came in at No.4 and departed without adding much to the board, and that left Dhoni with the responsibility of taking his team to a fighting total. However, nothing went right for Captain Cool as he scored a run-a-ball 24 to add to the low run rate. At the end, the Pune side finished with 159/5 on the back of Saurabh Tiwary’s 45-ball 57, while Jasprit Bumrah starred with the ball for Mumbai by picking three wickets for 29 runs.  

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