Rising Pune Supergiant stormed into the VIVO IPL 2017 Playoffs after they defeated Kings XI Punjab in the penultimate match of the league season. In a winner-progresses-to-the-playoffs match played at the MCA International Stadium in Pune, RPS opted to field first, bundled out Kings XI Punjab to their lowest ever total, and then chased down the required runs in 12 overs. Courtesy the 9-wicket win, RPS climbed to second position in the eight-team standings, and thereby booked a date with the Mumbai Indians in Qualifier 1 on May 16.
RPS rocked the visitors first ball of the match when Martin Guptill drove to the man at short cover. Shaun Marsh and Wriddhiman Saha added 19 before the former miscued Shardul Thakur and holed out to mid-off. Unadkat scored a direct hit at the non-striker’s end to catch Eoin Morgan short of his ground in the fifth over. When Glenn Maxwell, who surprisingly dropped down the order and batted at number six, picked out the man patrolling the midwicket fence in the sixth over, KXIP – 32/5 – were in all kinds of trouble.
Axar Patel top-scored with 22 and added 19 runs in the company of Saha for the sixth wicket; their partnership lasted 3.3 overs – the longest partnership of the innings. KXIP only lasted 15.5 overs and were bundled out for 73 – their lowest total in the ten seasons of the IPL.
After Unadkat provided the first-ball breakthrough, Shardul Thakur – who had gone wicketless in the last three matches – stepped up and broke the backbone of the KXIP innings with a three-wicket burst; he dismissed Marsh, Tewatia and Maxwell, and eventually finished with career-best T20 figures of 3/19. Daniel Christian dismissed Saha (who opened the innings and batted until the tenth over) and Axar Patel, while the leg-spinner Adam Zampa cleaned up the tail. Ben Stokes didn’t pick up a wicket in the match, but bowled three economical overs, conceding only 10 runs.
RPS’ chase was only a matter of formality; Ajinkya Rahane and Rahul Tripathi added 41 in 5.3 overs to ensure there were no early hiccups in the run-chase. Rahane (run-a-ball 34, 1 four, 1 six) and captain Steven Smith (15 not out, 18 balls) finished the job after Tripathi was dismissed after scoring a brisk 20-ball 28 (4 fours, 1 six). RPS strolled past the finish line in twelve overs, thereby registering their most convincing win in the IPL.
Kings XI Punjab: 73 in 15.5 Overs (Axar Patel 22, Shardul Thakur 3-19, Daniel Christian 2-10, Jaydev Unadkat 2-12, Adam Zampa 2-22) lost to Rising Pune Supergiant: 78-1 in 12.0 Overs (Ajinkya Rahane 34*, Rahul Tripathi 28) by 9 wickets.
Man of the Match: Jaydev Unadkat