It was behind the eight ball virtually for the entire first half. Still, the Rising Pune Supergiant built on the force it generated in the last couple of overs and ensured that it registered a hat-trick of victories against Mumbai Indians in the tenth edition of the Indian Premier League.
More importantly, the 20-run victory at the Wankhede Stadium helped the Supergiant book a place in Sunday's finale. Mumbai Indians will now head to Bengaluru and hope to cash in on the second chance of making it to the final by winning the virtual semifinal on Friday.
Ever since the coin landed in captain Rohit Sharma’s favour, the Mumbai Indians hardly put a foot wrong in the first 18 overs of the Supergiant innings. Despite Ajinkya Rahane scoring his second fifty of the season, against the same opponent, Mumbai Indians bowlers didn't let the Pune batting line-up sans Ben Stokes run away with the game.
In fact, Manoj Tiwary and Mahendra Singh Dhoni could hardly connect the big heaves until Rohit threw the ball to Mitchell McClenaghan for the 19th over. The first ball was a full-toss above the waist of Tiwary and he whipped it to the fine-leg to complete the slowest fifty of the season, off 45 balls. The free hit was cleanly despatched over long-on by Tiwary, followed by a single to get Dhoni on strike.
Dhoni has consistently made a meat of bowlers in the penultimate over this season. He continued the trend with two sixes of the three legal deliveries he faced, on either sides of two wides outside off. While the first hit was despatched in the cow corner, the last-ball heave landed over long-off to make it a 26-run over.
Dhoni continued the onslaught against Bumrah with two lusty blows off Jasprit Bumrah in what turned out to be a 15-run over. The last two overs fetched Pune 41 runs, thus helping them put on a respectable total of 162 for eight.
Mumbai Indians required a quickfire start to shake off the damage it suffered at the end of the first innings. However, Lendl Simmons was run out backing up too far at the non-striker's end. And Washington Sundar then shut the door on Mumbai Indians with three quick wickets. The all-rounder was lucky with the big breakthrough of Rohit Sharma, who promoted himself to No. 3. Rohit's cross-batted swipe took the bottom-edge of his blade before thudding into the pad but umpire C. Shamshuddin upheld the appeal.
Three balls hence, Sundar was rewarded for bowling straight as Ambati Rayudu's back-footed pull ended up in Smith's palms at short mid-wicket. In Sundar's next over, Pollard brought Smith into play again at the same position, this time with a front-foot flick. At 51 for four, the door was as good as shut for Mumbai, with Parthiv Patel holding on to one end.
Thakur's double strike in the 15th over to see the back of half-centurion Parthiv and Krunal Pandya sealed the deal for the Supergiant, and ensured that it will travel to Hyderabad for the final while Mumbai Indians will have to board a flight to Bengaluru.
- Hard-serving Ivo Karlovic officially announces his retirement from tennis
- World team table tennis c’ships: India men edge out Kazakhstan to enter Round of 16
- Former India cricketer Lalchand Rajput appointed UAE head coach
- Take Bairstow out of firing line: Cook urges England to bench the out-of-form batter
- Royal Challengers Bangalore WPL 2024 team analysis: Squad depth, players to watch out, fixtures