IPL  2017 | Rahane and Smith star as RPS beat Mumbai in Maharashtra derby

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IPL  2017 | Rahane and Smith star as RPS beat Mumbai in Maharashtra derby

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SportsCafe Desk


Riding on skipper Steve Smith’s unbeaten 84 and Ajinkya Rahane’s 60, Rising Pune Supergiant managed to chase down Mumbai’s total of 184 with ease. Earlier, Hardik Pandya’s 28 run blitz in the final over had powered Mumbai to 184/8, after a middle-order collapse, triggered primarily by Imran Tahir.

Brief scores: Mumbai Indians 184/8 ( Jos Buttler 38, Hardik Pandya 35*, Imran Tahir 3/28, Rajat Bhatia 2/14 ) lost to Rising Pune Supergiant 187/3 ( Steve Smith 84*, Ajinkya Rahane 60, Mitchell McClenaghan 1/36,  Tim Southee 1/34) by 7 wickets.

Winning the toss, newly elected captain of the Rising Pune Supergiant, Steve Smith, opted to field first. The Aussie captain made the big call of leaving out Faf du Plessis in place of Imran Tahir and Adam Zampa. Mumbai, on the other hand, went a different way resting their most-capped player Harbhajan Singh.

Mumbai started well but Tahir pegged them back

Mumbai got off to a brilliant start with Jos Buttler and Parthiv Patel getting scoring 19 off the first two overs. Amidst the Pietersen-Dhoni banter, the Mumbai duo looked well in control as Buttler smashed the most expensive foreign player in IPL history, Ben Stokes, for two sixes in a row to take Mumbai’s score to 41 off just 4 overs. Having used three bowlers in the first four overs, Smith decided to use hand the ball to Tahir in as early as the fifth over. It proved to be a brilliant move as in his two-over spell, Tahir sent Patel, Buttler, and Mumbai captain Rohit Sharma back to the hut.The South African’s spell ensured that Mumbai were restricted to just 82 runs midway through their innings.

Pandya blitz takes Mumbai past 180

Just as the Rana-Rayudu partnership reached the 30-run mark and the duo looked like they were going to go after the bowling attack, Bhatia dismissed Rayudu to restrict Mumbai to just 95 off 12 overs. Krunal Pandya and Rana didn’t last long either as Pune appeared to be finishing as the stronger of the two Maharashtra franchises. Kieron Pollard raised the tempo of the game with a boundary in every over but he too disappeared in the 19th over leaving Mumbai at a score 146 with ten balls to go. After Tim Southee hit Stokes for a six off the last ball of the over, it was the Hardik Pandya show. Ashok Dinda who had an economy rate of just 4.69 in the Powerplay overs of the first innings last season was smashed for three consecutive sixes, a four, and another big one as Pandya scored an astonishing 28 runs off the final over to take Mumbai to 184/8 after their allotted 20 overs.

Rahane’s pyrotechnics light up Pune

Ajinkya Rahane picked up where he had left off in the Dharamsala Test by getting off to a flyer as Pune made their intentions clear early on. Even though Mumbai got a breakthrough with the wicket of Mayank Agarwal, Rahane and Smith, who came in at No. 3, kept scoring at a brisk pace to force Mumbai into taking their time out after just six overs as the scoreboard read 59/1. It appeared that the team talk had worked as Pune could only manage four of the next over but Rahane had found his groove. The Mumbai-born batsman brought up his fifty in just 27 balls - his fastest in the IPL and Mumbai would have feared the worst when he was dropped on the boundary by Pollard. However, a brilliant catch by Rana in the deep sent Rahane packing for 60 off just 34 balls.

Smith continues to live Indian dream

After Rahane’s dismissal, Smith took up the run-scoring responsibility and started scoring at a faster pace smashing both Mitchell McClenaghan and Pollard for runs all around the park as he brought up his half century. But it could all have been avoided had Rana not dropped Smith when the Aussie was on 36. Stokes joined the action as well, taking Pune ever so close to the Mumbai total but the away side picked up his wicket to make the last few overs interesting. But the wicket was too little too late as Dhoni and Smith saw out the rest of the innings to hand Pune their first win of  IPL 2017.

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