IPL 10 – RPS vs MI: Stokes the star as Pune snap Mumbai’s winning streak


April 24, 2017

Brief Scorecard: Rising Pune Supergiant 160 for 6 (Tripathi 45, Rahane 38, Bumrah 2-29, Karn 2-39) beat Mumbai Indians 157 for 8 (Rohit 58, Parthiv 33, Stokes 2-21, Unadkat 2-40) by three runs

April 24, 2017

Brief Scorecard: Rising Pune Supergiant 160 for 6 (Tripathi 45, Rahane 38, Bumrah 2-29, Karn 2-39) beat Mumbai Indians 157 for 8 (Rohit 58, Parthiv 33, Stokes 2-21, Unadkat 2-40) by three runs

Ben Stokes is pumped up after taking out Jos Buttler, Mumbai Indians v Rising Pune Supergiant, IPL 2017, Mumbai, April 24, 2017 – BCCI

MUMBAI – This was supposed to be the match in which Rohit Sharma ominously announced his return to form to make an already table-topping Mumbai Indians side seem more formidable. Instead, it turned into the match in which Rising Pune Supergiant snapped Mumbai’s winning run at six and extended their own to three straight victories in a thrilling finish.

Pune had put up what seemed a sub-par 160 for 6 after looking good for much more, and with Rohit and Kieron Pollard at the crease and the equation down to 39 off 24, Mumbai had the match in the bag. Pune tore that bag open, and snatched the win right back, restricting the home team to 157 for 7 at the Wankhede Stadium on Monday (April 24) for a heart-stopping three-run win.

Rohit had played a captain’s hand of 58 off 39, but the hero of the day was Ben Stokes, who not only bowled a wicket-maiden, but also bowled a near-perfect penultimate over that left Rohit with too much to do against Jaydev Unadkat, with 17 needed. Not satisfied with that, Stokes ran in and dived forward to hold the catch of the match off the first ball of the final over, sending Hardik Pandya back and turning the equation into 17 off 5 – a bridge too far.

At the end, IPL 10’s most expensive player had 2 for 21, that catch and 17 off 12 with the bat to be the one-man Sachin Tendulkar-birthday-wrecking show for the Mumbai faithful. Pune went to eight points from seven games and sit fourth in the points table, level with Sunrisers Hyderabad on points but behind on net run-rate. Mumbai’s 12 points mean they continue to be at the top.

Rohit had walked in during a tricky phase of the chase, and marshalled it with elegance and nous. He had only 54 runs in six previous hits in the Indian Premier League 2017, and been particularly troubled by legspinners. Not one to miss a trick, Steven Smith held Imran Tahir back till after Rohit had walked in at 51 for 2 in the eighth over. Rohit won that battle and probably buried some ghosts, taking 23 runs off 15 balls faced from Tahir and not giving any chances.

The leggie though delivered one final twist when he came on to bowl the 17th over and had Pollard caught while giving up just four runs. Unadkat went for 11 in the next over, but then on came Stokes, nailing perfect yorkers and not allowing even Rohit to get the ball away.

Mumbai had surrendered the advantage of a brisk start by losing the wickets of Jos Buttler and Nitish Rana to Stokes and Dan Christian. But with Rohit still there and depth in the batting, they were never out of the chase. In fact they stayed in it till the very last over, but thanks to Stokes’s brilliance and Unadkat keeping his head, Pune squeezed home.

Ben Stokes' 4-1-21-2 swung the game in Pune's favour

Earlier, Pune’s innings was one of two contrasting halves. They began with intent and briskness, looking on track for a total touching 180 or in excess of it in the first half, but some excellent bowling meant they were pulled back.

The innings began with Ajinkya Rahane stepping out and smashing Mitchell Johnson for a six over cover in the first over and a straight four off Mitchell McClenaghan in the next, but things quickly settled into a more normal routine with Rahul Tripathi (45 off 31) being the aggressor and Rahane rotating strike. Rahane was perhaps guilty of allowing too many dot balls once the Power Play overs were done, but Tripathi stepped it up with regular boundaries. Rahane (38 off 32) fell against the run of play, a ball from Karn Sharma bouncing a lot more than he expected to take the edge and balloon back to the bowler, but at 76 for 1 in the tenth over, the platform was set.

However, it couldn’t be used as a launchpad, or rather was not allowed to, with Mumbai’s high-quality bowling attack not giving much away. Pune had ended the first ten overs on 84 for 1. The next ten would bring 76 for 5.

Karn (2 for 39), Harbhajan Singh (1 for 20) and Jasprit Bumrah (2 for 29) were the chief architects. While Karn returned to get Tripathi, he was denied a third wicket when Harbhajan shelled a dolly at the midwicket fence off Steven Smith. However, Mumbai didn’t have to pay too dearly for that, with the offspinner removing the Pune captain in the very next over, the slowness of the pitch meaning Smith was into his shot too early and consequently had his stumps disturbed. It was Harbhajan’s 200th wicket in T20s, a landmark the bowler was very much aware of since he drew out the number in the air to celebrate.

It was downhill for Pune from there, with MS Dhoni not able to get a hold of the bowlers. Stokes was castled by Johnson and Dhoni’s struggle ended at with just 7 off 11, when Bumrah bowled a ‘you miss I hit’ delivery.

Manoj Tiwary, as he has done all tournament long, injected late momentum into Pune’s innings with 22 off 13, but with Bumrah and McClenaghan giving hardly any freebies, Pune ended up with somewhat less than they would have liked.

In the end, it turned out to be just about enough.

Courtesy: Wisden India