New Delhi: Dhoni finishes off in style seemed to be reverberating at the Wankhede Stadium on Tuesday as he hit four sixes in the last two overs of the Rising Pune Supergiant innings to help his team post a challenging 162 on a slow turner. In the end, it turned out to be more than enough for Pune to qualify for the final as Mumbai Indians could manage only 142/9 and lost by 20 runs.
Going into the 19th over, Pune’s score read 121/3 with Manoj Tiwary and Dhoni at the crease. The two had been struggling as the Mumbai spinners had kept it tight. But Tiwary was the first one to break the shackles as he hit Mitchell McClenaghan for a four and a six. After that, Dhoni took over and hit the pacer for two sixes as Pune collected 26 runs from the 19th over.
Chasing 163 for a win was never going to be easy for Mumbai on a turner, but Parthiv Patel and Lendl Simmons looked to take the attack to the Pune bowlers with the ball hard and new. Parthiv was especially severe as he pulled and drove with elan. But luck ran out for the Mumbai opening combination as a straight drive off Parthiv’s bat flicked Shardul Thakur’s finger and hit the stumps at the non-striker’s end. Simmons (5) was short of the crease.
With Mumbai’s score reading 35/1, skipper Rohit Sharma joined Parthiv. But his stay was short-lived as Washington Sundar trapped him plumb in front for 1. Replays did show that there could have been an inside-edge, but the umpire had thought otherwise.
Sundar wasn’t done as he sent back last-game hero Ambati Rayudu for a duck two balls later. And when Sundar sent back for Kieron Pollard for 7 in the next over, the writing was pretty much on the wall for Mumbai. The home team’s score read 51/4 after 8 overs, needing another 112 runs from 12 overs at 9.33 runs per over.
Hardik Pandya (14) too flattered to deceive as he hit a beautiful shot straight to Dan Christian at long-on off Lockie Ferguson’s bowling. Parthiv though kept mixing caution with aggression as he hit a few boundaries and also kept rotating the strike to bring up another fifty in Krunal Pandya’s company.
Krunal did play a few cheeky shots, but his stay was ended in the 15th over when Shardul Thakur used the off-cutter to fox him. Krunal (15) hit the bowler straight back to Christian at the long-off boundary. Shardul wasn’t done yet as he sent back Parthiv (52) in the same over, caught by Christian again, running in from long-off.
Parthiv’s dismissal was the final nail in the coffin for Mumbai and after that it was just a matter of completing formalities. In the end, Mumbai fell short by 20 runs.
Earlier, Rohit won the toss and decided to have a bowl. Pune had the worst possible start as in-form Rahul Tripathi was dismissed for a duck in the first over.
Rahane cut, pulled and drove with ease and looked like he was in fine flow. Tiwary on the other hand looked slightly uncomfortable and was happy to keep the scoreboard moving.
Rahane was finally dismissed in the 13th over for a well-made 56 when Karn Sharma, playing in place of Harbhajan Singh, trapped him plumb with a googly. That brought Tiwary and Dhoni together and what ensued was stuff legends are made of.
Picking up the singles and doubles initially, they put the foot on the accelerator in the end as they picked 41 off the 73 runs they added for the 4th wicket off the last 12 balls.