Rising Pune Supergiant ended Mumbai Indians’ six-match winning streak when they defeated them by a slender margin of 3 runs at the Wankhede Stadium on Monday night. After batting first and posting 160-6, RPS held their nerve to deny the hosts by restricting them to 157-8.
In the evening, the RPS opening pair of Ajinkya Rahane and Rahul Tripathi got their team off to a solid start. Rahane set things in motion when he creamed the last ball of the first over – bowled by Mitchell Johnson – for a six over cover. By the time five overs had been bowled, Rahane had collected three more boundaries and had 22 runs against his name, while his partner Tripathi had a run-a-ball 13.
In the eighth over, Tripathi got cracking as he collected three boundaries off Mitchell McClenaghan. In the tenth over the partnership was broken when Rahane (38 from 32 balls) top-edged an attempted pull and the bowler Imran Tahir gracefully accepted a return catch. The opening partnership of 76 runs was RPS’ best of VIVO IPL 2017 and fell three runs short of their best-ever opening stand.
Tripathi was the second wicket to fall; he made 45 from 31 balls, and hit three fours and two sixes before he became Karn Sharma’s second victim of the night. In the following over, Harbhajan Singh castled Steven Smith. MI used that opportunity and slipped in a few quiet overs; between overs 13 and 16, they only conceded 26 runs.
Ben Stokes and MS Dhoni were dismissed in the 17th and 18th overs respectively, but Manoj Tiwary’s cameo – 22 from 13 balls – took RPS to 160-6.
Karn Sharma – who made his IPL debut for the Mumbai Indians, and Jasprit Bumrah picked up two wicekts each, while Harbhajan Singh finished with tidy figures of 1-20 – with the wicket taking his tally of T20 wickets to 200. Mitchell Johnson picked up one wicket.
Despite a quiet first over at the start of the run-chase, the MI opening pair of Parthiv Patel and Jos Buttler helped their team to a 35-run opening partnership in 4.2 overs. Both batsmen contributed in near equal proportions and picked up three boundaries each, before a smart piece of bowling and a strategically placed fielder at long-on resulted in Buttler’s dismissal.
The hosts’ run-chase stuttered a bit then when they lost Nitish Rana – the team’s top run-getter this season – and Parthiv Patel (33 from 27 balls) in successive overs. Rohit Sharma, who has had a tough time against leg-spinners this season, announced his intent when he collected two boundaries off Imran Tahir’s first over. Despite losing the company of Karn Sharma and Kieron Pollard, Rohit continued to motor along; in the fourteenth over, he collected a four and a six off consecutive deliveries off Tahir, and collected a four and a six off Stokes and Shardul Thakur in the next two overs. He brought up his half-century in the eighteenth over – needing 33 balls to get to the milestone. In the same over, Hardik Pandya struck two boundaries and MI were left needing 24 from the final two overs.
But a sensational 19th over from Stokes – who bowled a wide delivery early in the over, but only conceded a total of 7 runs, meant MI needed 17 off the final over. There was plenty of drama at the start of the final over; Hardik Pandya was snapped by a brilliant diving catch by Stokes, while Rohit deposited Unadkat into the stands second ball. But when two balls later Rohit was dismissed – with Unadkat clinging on to a skier off his own bowling – the chase had been killed. Despite Harbhajan Singh’s last ball six, MI finished at 157-8 – one boundary away from what would have been their seventh successive win.
Among the six bowlers used by RPS, three deserve special praise; the teenager Washington Sundar bowled brilliantly at the top of the innings, while Stokes returned with outstanding figures of 2-21 – which included one maiden over. Imran Tahir came in for some punishment at the hands of the MI captain, but he bowled a very tidy final over – 17th of the innings – to keep his team in the hunt. Daniel Christian (1-0-6-1) and Unadkat contributed three wickets between them.
Rising Pune Supergiant: 160-6 (Rahul Tripathi 45, Ajinkya Rahane 38, Jasprit Bumrah 2-29, Karn Sharma 2-39) beat Mumbai Indians: 157-8 (Rohit Sharma 58, Parthiv Patel 33, Ben Stokes 2-21, Jaydev Unadkat 2-40) by 3 runs.
Man of the Match: Ben Stokes