Half-centuries by Ajinkya Rahane and Manoj Tiwary, to go with a scintillating cameo by MS Dhoni, helped Rising Pune Supergiant enter their first, and maybe their last, final of the league. After Pune posted 162/4, the hosts failed to cope under pressure of the chase and now will play the eliminator.
Brief Scores: Mumbai Indians 142/9 (Parthiv Patel 52; Washington Sundar 3/16, Shardul Thakur 3/37) lost to Rising Pune Supergiant 162/4 (Manoj Tiwary 58, Ajinkya Rahane 56, MS Dhoni 40; Lasith Malinga 1/14) by 20 runs.
Winning the toss, Rohit Sharma asked Pune to make the first use of the strip. In the pursuit of a place in the final, Mumbai brought back Mitchell McClenaghan, Jasprit Bumrah, Lasith Malinga and Parthiv Patel, all of whom were rested for their previous game against Kolkata. Pune
Rahane, Tiwary take charge after top-order collapse
McClenaghan found early success when Rahul Tripathi, one of Pune’s success stories this season, failed to a toe-crashing yorker. Steve Smith was supposed to take the onus on his shoulder, but holed out to Hardik Pandya, standing at backward point, off a Malinga delivery to leave Pune in tatters. Mumbai’s bowlers used the lack of pace off the surface to good effect to tone down the aggression of Ajinkya Rahane and Manoj Tiwary and restricted them to just 33/2 in the powerplay overs. Soon after, Rahane took charge, prodding away to keep the runs coming, but with spinners gaining turn and Tiwary being relatively slow at the other end, Pune mustered 30 more runs in next four overs to reach 63/2 at the halfway point.
Tiwary fifty and Dhoni pyrotechnics propel Pune to a good total
Rahane was at his plucky best, stubborn and persistent in his pursuit of pulling Pune out of the woods, as he brought up his half-century off 39 balls. However, soon after, Karn Sharma trapped Rahane plumb in front of his stumps. After dismissing Rahane, Mumbai would have thought that they had their tails up, but MS Dhoni walloped Karn over long-on to give the hosts a reality check. Despite being tied down by Mumbai’s assortment of bowlers for a long time, Tiwary managed to get off the block and completed his half-century with a towering effort over long-on. But then the MSD, of power and brutal hitting, came to the fore as he hit four sixes within a space of only six deliveries, much to the dismay of the hosts. Such has been the popularity of the man as even the home crowd went berserk with the chants of “Dhoni-Dhoni” while the duo collected 41 runs off the last two overs as Pune reached a formidable 162/4 in 20 overs.
Washington sparkles to dent Mumbai’s start
Mumbai’s reply got off to a decent start with Parthiv Patel finding his groove early, despite Jaydev Unadkat conceding only a single run in the first over. Simmons’ calypso power was a non-starter as he got run out, unfortunately, after a shaky 13-ball 5. Rohit was wrongly given LBW, yet again, and it was clear that the two-time Champions needed a brilliant effort from thereon to enter the finals. However, Smith took two easy catches at short midwicket, off the bowling of Washington Sundar, to send Rayudu and Kieron Pollard packing. Washington Sundar was particularly impressive with his guile and variation as he gave away just 12 runs in his first 3 overs and took 3 important wickets. All the while, Patel was batting calmly and helped Mumbai reach 71/4 in 10 overs, they still needed 92 runs to win.
Bowlers help Pune secure the Finals berth
While many home fans would have expected the home team to unleash the fireworks at Wankhede, they never appeared as the Pune bowlers tied down the Mumbai batters with disciplined bowling. After Sundar’s brilliance in the first half of the innings, it was Thakur who shone with the ball to send Mumbai to a point of no return. All through this, Patel was unperturbed and waged a lone battle, but after having completed his half-century, he perished to Thakur on 52. Mumbai, eventually, managed to score 142/9- 20 runs short of Pune’s score. With the victory, Pune secured a place in the final, while Mumbai will get another bite at the spot on