With 24 needed off 12 balls, it had boiled down to the best batsman of the day to the best bowler. Ben Stokes had been outstanding with the ball for Rising Pune Supergiant with 15 runs in three overs for two wickets and the strokes were flowing from Rohit Sharma’s blade having raced to his half-century off 33 balls. (Highlights)
Rohit also had the support of the in-form Hardik Pandya at the other end. But as the game entered the decisive 19th over, Stokes was an inspired man on Monday. He restricted Rohit and Hardik to just seven runs, one wide and six singles to leave Mumbai needing 17 off six balls in their chase of Pune Supergiant’s total of 160 for six. (Scorecard)
Stokes’ then took a super catch off the first ball of the final over of the match to send back Hardik and by the time the game reached the third-last ball of the day, the Mumbai Indians captain had lost his composure, arguing with the umpire when he didn’t signal a wide.
Off the next ball, Rohit was walking back to the pavilion, playing wild heave to be caught and bowled by Unadkat. Harbhajan Singh did smash a six off the last ball, but it was not enough as Mumbai Indians finished at 157 for eight to lose by three runs.
It was Rising Pune Supergiant’s third straight win. They have defeated Mumbai Indians in both the games this season.
However, it was a fine effort from Rohit Sharma. Putting his sluggish form behind, Rohit treated the Wankhede Stadium crowd to some great strokeplay. The Mumbai Indians skipper, whose best effort coming into the game had been an unbeaten 40, smashed his first half-century of IPL-10. But, Rohit Sharma was in a different mood on Monday. When he gets his rhythm, he is the most devastating batsman in Twenty20 cricket. He had made his intentions clear with a pull off Dan Christian of the third ball he faced.
Rising Pune Supergiant brought on Imran Tahir, trying to prey on his vulnerability against the leg-spinners. Rohit’s heart must have skipped a beat when Tahir fired in a googly to wrap the batsman on the pads. A vociferous appeal followed but the Wankhede Stadium crowd heaved a sigh of relief as the umpire’s finger stayed down.
It was the only blemish in Rohit’s innings. He stepped up the charge and targeted Tahir for special treatment, bringing up Mumbai Indians hundred with a four and a six.
It was a see-saw battle which had the crowd on the edge. With 39 needed off 24 balls, the equation favoured the batting team. But, a brilliant running catch in the deep by Steve Smith to send back Kieron Pollard, kept Pune Supergiant’s hopes alive of taking the local derby against Mumbai Indians to the wire. Buoyed by the wicket, Imran Tahir conceded just four runs in the 17th over to take the equation to 35 off 18 balls. And, then Ben Stokes delivered the knock-out punch.