The result: Rising Pune Supergiant 4-162 (Tiwary 58, Rahane 56) defeated Mumbai Indians 9-142 (Patel 52, Sundar 3-16) by 20 runs.
The match in a tweet: A slow start set up a Dhoni fast finish, the veteran blasting five sixes in tandem with half centuries to Rahane and Tiwary for victory
Dhoni Demolition: It’s fair to say that MS Dhoni struggled as Mumbai held the ascendancy early in the match, able to contribute just 14 runs from his first 18 balls. But as the innings drew to a close, the veteran came into his own, hammering four sixes in six deliveries and boosting the Supergiant’s lacklustre total. He took apart the host’s two best bowlers in Mitchell McClenaghan and Jasprit Bumrah and dispatched them into the Wankhede Stadium crowd, the same arena where a six from his blade won his country the World Cup six years ago. His knock, which also played a major role in the 41 runs from the final two overs, would eventually prove the difference between the two sides.
The Teen Titan: Without Imran Tahir, the Supergiant’s leading wicket-taker, it was left to 17-year-old Washington Sundar to carry the load of the tweakers and he took on the responsibility with aplomb. He was sent for a six by Parthiv Patel in his first over, but his next three overs leaked just eight runs and claimed the wickets of Rohit Sharma, Ambati Rayudu and Kieron Pollard. Sundar entered the record books the youngest player ever to claim three wickets in the Indian Premier League.
The turning point: The hosts reached 35 without loss with Patel in full flight and Lendl Simmons waiting in the wings at the other end. The West Indian had plundered two fifties in his previous four innings and loomed large to partner his fellow opener in an assault, that is before Patel rocketed a return ball that Shardul Thakur got a finger on, catching Simmons short of his ground. His wicket was the first of four top-order scalps that fell for just 16 runs, swinging the Supergiant into pole position.
The workhorses: Dhoni’s innings earned the plaudits for its sheer destructiveness, but Ajinkya Rahane and Manoj Tiwary’s half-centuries cannot be understated. Both went at better than a run-a-ball and combined for a match-winning 80-run stand with the semi-final well in the host’s favour after Tripathi and skipper Steve Smith departed, leaving the score at a dangerous 2-9 in the second over. The duo hit nine boundaries and three sixes together and were pivotal in setting a platform for Dhoni to launch from.
The Aussie Pack: Smith had a night to forget with the bat, trying to force Lasith Malinga to the on-side and top-edging the ball straight up to Hardik Pandya, but his fielding yielded two sharp catches and his captaincy was instrumental in restricting the Indians; his bowling changes regularly resulting in much-needed wickets. Dan Christian and Adam Zampa weren’t required with the bat and their five overs with the ball went for 42 runs, but Christian claimed three catches in the victory for Pune.
The Wash-Up: It’s straight to the big dance for the Rising Pune Supergiant whilst the Mumbai Indians will have an elimination match against the victor between the Sunrisers and Knight Riders in Bengalaru on Saturday morning, with the winner to face Smith’s men on Monday morning for the title.