NEW DELHI, April 7: The Rising Pune Supergiant got off to a winning start with a seven-wicket win over Mumbai Indians. Ajinkya Rahane brought up his quickest IPL fifty, after which skipper Steve Smith scored an unbeaten 84 to finish off the chase, achieving Mumbai’s 185-run target with one ball remaining.
Parthiv, Buttler get Mumbai Indians off to a flyer
Mumbai Indians sprung a surprise by making Jos Buttler open the batting with Parthiv Patel, and plenty of action unfolded early on. In three overs, both batsmen played some attractive shots, there was an overthrow that went for four and an easy catch was dropped by Rajat Bhatia of Parthiv. Buttler in particular looked in terrific touch, striking consecutive sixes of Ben Stokes’ first over. He took Mumbai to 45/0 in 4.1 overs and the side looked set for a daunting total.
Tahir magic floors Mumbai
The Supergiant struck with their second bowling change. Imran Tahir came over the wicket to Parthiv and the batsman, who hit him for a four the previous ball, was bowled round his legs. Next over, he changed the complete complexion of the game. First ball, he cleaned up Rohit Sharma who couldn’t bring his bat down on time and followed it with the dismissal of the dangerous-looking Buttler two balls later even though there was a big inside edge. Come to think of it, Tahir wasn’t even originally chosen by any side during the auction in February.
Mumbai lost their way there onward and lost wickets in regular intervals. Bhatia made up for the drop catch with the wickets of Ambati Rayudu and Krunal Pandya. Nitish Rana and Kieron Pollard tried restoring order for MI with a few lusty blows but both lost their wickets just when they were looking to go big.
Hardik cameo takes Mumbai to 184/8
Mumbai Indians managed to score a few boundaries in the 18th and 19th over but even with it, looked to be heading towards a total of 150-160. That is before Ashok Dinda bowled the final over of the innings. Hardik Pandya, who had got his eye in, took Dinda for 30 runs in the final six balls of the innings, which is also the most expensive final over in the history of IPL. Dinda kept on pitching full and result was 6, 6, 6, 4, 6, WD, 1, taking the Mumbai Indians’ total to 184.
Ajinkya Rahane has hit a flurry of boundaries, and a pull shot for six to race away to 29 off 17 in the first five overs. The same however, can’t be said about his partner Mayank Agarwal, who was out to the first ball bowled by Mitchell McClenaghan. Mumbai were a bit unlucky with a couple of balls flying through the slip cordon. With a crunching pull for four, Ajinkya Rahane brought up his 25th half-century in the IPL, his quickest of them all. It laid the perfect platform for the Supergiant.
Smith drop proves costly for Mumbai
Steve Smith got some useful runs for Rising Pune Supergiant last year before an injury ruled him out. And tonight it seemed as if he just continued from where he’d left off in 2016. Captain of the side this year, Smith scored an unbeaten 84 to finish off the chase comprehensively.
At the fall of Rahane’s wicket, Smith remained the key for the Supergiant. And the kind of form he is in, any lapse in concentration could prove costly. That is exactly what Nitish Rana was guilty of. On 36, after he had taken McClenaghan for two fours in three balls, Smith pulled one straight to Rana in the deep, who made a huge error in judgement to give Smith a reprieve. That was that. Smith soon brought up his half-century to extend his glorious run in the country. Ben Stokes fell to a slog off Pandya but by then the Supergiant looked at ease to get the job done. But one last bit of drama was yet to unfold. Couple of tight overs in the end brought the equation down to a tense 10 required off three balls. Smith then brought out consecutive sixes off Pollard to seal a memorable win.AGENCIES