Mumbai Indians’ luck with the Indian Premier League opening clash did not change as they slumped to their fifth straight loss in the IPL-10 clash as Rising Pune Supergiants won by 7 wickets on Thursday. (SCORECARD | HIGHLIGHTS)
Rising Pune Supergiants skipper Steve Smith slammed a half-century on his captaincy debut while his teammate Ajinkya Rahane scored 60 as the hosts chased down MI’s 184 for eight with one ball to spare. (IPL 2017 COVERAGE)
Smith shines again at Pune
The MCA Stadium is soon becoming a happy hunting ground for Steve Smith. The RPS skipper continued with his good form into the IPL as well with a composed 54-ball unbeaten 84 (7x4s, 3x6s).
Smith had scored a brilliant century on a tricky Pune pitch during the first Test win over India last month. He did not take unnecessary risks, but ensured to give as much strike as possible to Rahane. With 13 required off the final over, Smith slammed two consecutive sixes to midwicket to finish in style.
Rahane in full flow
Ajinkya Rahane gave just the kind of start to Pune, striking the ball with ease. After losing opener Mayank Agarwal early on, Rahane and captain Steven Smith put on 58 runs for the second wicket to put Pune in a good position.
Rahane brought up his half-century with a boundary on the square leg off Hardik Pandya. But Tim Southee managed to dismiss Rahane for 60 after a stunning catch by Nitish Rana at deep square leg.
Tahir’s a treat
World No 1 T20 spinner Imran Tahir proved with his performance on Thursday that it was a mistake to ignore him in first place after going unsold in the auction.
Tahir, who was brought in as replacement for injured Mitchell Marsh, claimed three wickets for 28 runs in his four overs.
Tahir’s wrong’un straightaway rewarded him with the wicket of Patel (19), who was bowled round his legs. Tahir’s second over produced two big MI wickets – skipper Rohit Sharma (3) and the dangerous Buttler (38).
Just as Tahir’s celebratory run had ended with Rohit’s wicket, the leggie was off to another one after Buttler was adjudged leg-before on 38 off 19 balls. S Ravi was quick to raise his finger after failing to spot the big inside edge.
Tahir may have got Kieron Pollard as well in his third over after the West Indian was lucky to survive a huge leg-before appeal as the replays showed that the ball would have hit the middle stump. Dhoni was quick to make the ‘T’ sign, unfortunately there isn’t any DRS review in IPL. It once again put umpire S Ravi in the spotlight.
Ben Stokes, the most high profile player of IPL-10 after Rising Pune Supergiants snapped him for a record Rs 14.5 crore in the auction, had a tough IPL debut after finishing with 4-0-36-1.
Stokes conceded 13 runs off his first over after his England teammate Buttler belted two consecutive sixes. He bowled a tidy second over, giving away just three runs, but conceded 11 runs in his third over. Stokes, however, was lucky to claim one wicket in his final over, courtesy a brilliant diving catch in the front at long-on to dismiss Kieron Pollard for 27.
Even with the bat, Stokes managed just 21 off 14 balls which included three boundaries.
Dinda messes it up
Smith would have regretted giving the final over to Ashok Dinda after the pacer conceded 30 runs off it – the most expensive last over in IPL’s history. Hardik Pandya (unbeaten 35 off 15 balls) slammed three consecutive sixes, a four and again a six in the final over.