New Delhi: Rising Pune Supergiant skipper Steven Smith hailed MS Dhoni after the former captain struck an unbelievable innings to guide Pune into their maiden Indian Premier League (IPL) final on Tuesday.
Dhoni's innings was crucial as it was his 26-ball 40 which made the difference in the end as Mumbai fell short by 20 runs. Skipper Smith was left in the awe of Dhoni's blitzkrieg and the Aussie lauded MSD's heroics in the final overs of the match.
"It was a big day and big players stepped up. I thought MS was magnificent at the end with Manoj Tiwary. Rahane batted beautifully at the start to give us a chance to have a launch pad at the end," said Smith during the post-match presentation.
Going into the 19th over of the qualifier, 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.
In the 20th over, Tiwary decided to take a single and watch the show as Dhoni first went over covers off Jasprit Bumrah and then went for a double off a mistimed ball. The next one was headed straight over the sight-screen as Dhoni cleared his left leg and went up and over.
Even though Tiwary was run out of the last ball, the damage had been done as Pune picked 15 from the last over.