Dhoni, Sundar help RPS storm into Final after win over MI
Rising Pune Supergiant charged into the VIVO IPL 2017 Final after they defeated favourites Mumbai Indians by 20 runs on Tuesday night. In a clash between the top two teams – Qualifier 1 – played at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, RPS posted a competitive 162-4 and then restricted the hosts to 142-9.
Put in to bat, RPS got off to a dreadful start losing the opener Rahul Tripathi and captain Steven Smith in the first two overs. But courtesy half-centuries from Ajinkya Rahane and Manoj Tiwary, and a signature MS Dhoni flourish right at the end, RPS finished at 162-4.
After the early setbacks, Rahane and Tiwary ensured there were no more casualties immediately and took RPS to 33-2 at the end of six overs; it was RPS’ lowest powerplay score of the season. The pair carried on and stitched together a 90-run partnership – RPS’ biggest partnership of the season. While Rahane was fluent and played some attractive shots, Tiwary operated in first gear – nudging and nurdling – in the early part of his innings. There was no urgency from either batsmen, but runs were steadily added to the scoreboard. Given the slowness of the pitch, and the MI spinners slowing things down by further flighting the ball, both batsmen took a cautious approach to playing out Krunal Pandya and Karn Sharma.
Rahane brought up his second half-century of the season at the end of the twelfth over, but played down the wrong line to a Karn Sharma flipper in the following over to be dismissed LBW; he made 56, and hit five boundaries and a six in his 43-ball knock. MS Dhoni walked out to bat at number five; though he hit the leg-spinner for a six in the fifteenth over, he was generally not convincing in the early part of his innings.
But come the business end, Dhoni – the world’s best finisher – took centerstage. At the end of the eighteenth over, he had 14 from 17 balls, and had played out eight dot balls. Then came the blitz; the fourth ball of the penultimate over – a length delivery from McClenaghan sailed into midwicket, while the last ball of the over landed in front of the RPS dugout. Bumrah had never previously conceded a six to Dhoni, but that changed too; second ball of the final over, Dhoni deposited one over the cover boundary, and two balls later, he hit one into the sightscreen. Dhoni remained unbeaten on 40 (26 balls, 5 sixes) & dominated the 73-run partnership with Tiwary.
Tiwary played a very important hand too; he brought up his half-century in the penultimate over, getting there when he put away a waist-high full toss to the square-leg boundary. The very next delivery, he hit McClenaghan for a six straight down the ground and then watched from the non-striker’s end as Dhoni tore into the MI bowlers. Tiwary was run out off the last ball of the innings; he had made 58 from 48 balls. RPS had finished at 162-4. The visitors had added 88 runs between overs 7 & 18, and finished off with a flourish, adding 41 runs in the last two overs.
Lasith Malinga, and the two spinners – Krunal Pandya & Karn Sharma, were MI’s best bowlers; the Sri Lankan quick finished with figures of 1-14 from his three overs, while the two spinners returned combined figures of 8-0-52-1. McClenaghan (1/46) and Bumrah (0/33) had bowled six good overs, but one bad over each thereafter – when they were at the receiving end of Dhoni’s onslaught – spoilt their figures.
MI began their run-chase briskly, with Parthiv Patel and Lendl Simmons scoring 8, 10 and 10 off the 2nd, 3rd and 4th overs respectively. That partnership – in which Patel did the bulk of the scoring – was broken when Shardul Thakur got a touch on a straight drive from Parthiv and caught Simmons backing up too far at the non-striker’s end.
35-1 then, the wheels came off the rails as MI slipped to 75-5. Rohit Sharma was adjudged leg before wicket and dismissed for 1, while Ambati Rayudu and Kieron Pollard picked Steve Smith at short midwicket. When Hardik Pandya holed out to long-on, MI had half the side back in the dressing room.
Parthiv held one end up and fought a lone battle; he brought up his fifteenth over, needing 37 balls to get to the milestone. The left-hander was dismissed later in the same over when he holed out to long-on; Parthiv was dismissed for 52 and MI were reduced to 103-7. The rest of the tail couldn’t add too much, and MI eventually finished their 20 overs at 142-9.
The RPS bowlers – particularly the quicks – utilized the conditions well by bowling the cutters and cross seam deliveries and didn’t give the batsmen any pace to work with. Washington Sundar, given the new ball, broke the backbone of the home side with career-best figures of 3/16; his scalps included Rohit Sharma, Rayudu and Pollard. Shardul Thakur too picked up three wickets, while Jaydev Unadkat and Lockie Ferguson chipped in with a wicket each.
Courtesy their win, RPS now head to Hyderabad for the title clash – which will be played on May 21, while MI will feature in Qualifier 2 which will be played in Bengaluru on May 19.
Rising Pune Supergiant: 162-4 (Manoj Tiwary 58, Ajinkya Rahane 56, MS Dhoni 40*) beat Mumbai Indians: 142-9 (Parthiv Patel 52, Washington Sundar 3-16, Shardul Thakur 3-37) by 20 runs.
Man of the Match: Washington Sundar