Pune: Rising Pune Supergiant captain Steve Smith has seconded Kevin Pietersen and said the team will miss Ben Stokes in the IPL playoffs after they comfortably beat Kings XI Punjab in a do-or-die match.
In a potential knock-out clash, Pune defeated Kings XI Punjab by nine wickets to finish second in the points table behind Mumbai Indians, which means they will get two shots for a place in the summit clash.
It was complete domination by the home team, which first skittled out Kings XI Punjab for a paltry 73 and then knocked off the runs in only 12 overs.
"It was a nice day. The bowlers did a terrific job," said Smith.
"We were searching a bit in the first few games. We had new players coming in, we have a good balance now. Really good to finish second and have bites at the cherry. Yeah, we have a couple of options for Stokes. He has been magnificent and will be a big loss. Hopefully, the other guys will stand up for us," he added.
Former England star Kevin Pietersen has blasted England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) for not allowing Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler to play in the Indian Premier League (IPL) play-off for their respective teams.
Stokes was an integral part of the Rising Pune Supergiant team that qualified for the playoffs after their scintillating win over Kings XI Punjab on Sunday.
The duo have been recalled by the ECB and won't take any further part in the cash-rich league. Stoke and Buttler will join their national team for the upcoming ODI series against South Africa which is seen as a preparation for England's Champions Trophy 2017 campaign.
The England national team will also travel to Spain for training ahead of the South Africa series. However, this hasn't gone down well with Pietersen who lashed out at Stokes and Buttler for not playing in the play-offs instead.
Pietersen took to twitter to express his disappointment and his post read: "Absolutely PATHETIC that @benstokes38 & @josbuttler have to go drink a few beers in Spain instead of playing IPL finals!"
— KP (@KP24) May 14, 2017
Stokes' absence is a major blow for RPS as the English all-rounder is the only player to have scored 300+ runs and taken 10+ wickets in the tenth edition of the league.