REPORT: Rising Pune Supergiant defeated Mumbai Indians by seven wickets as Steven Smith cracked an unbeaten 84 to lead his side home.
It was RPS’s first win in their home ground in Pune.
Chasing the Mumbai Indians 184 for eight, Smith and Ajinkya Rahane both scored half-centuries to get their franchise off to a winning start in IPL2017.
Rahane scored 27 of the 35 runs added with Mayank Agarwal for the first wicket before the latter hit Mitchelll McClenaghan to mid-off.
Smith joined Rahane and the chase looked comfortable. Rahane travelled quickly without taking risks and reached his fifty in the ninth over when he pulled his 27th delivery, a short ball from Hardik Pandya to the fence. It was the fastest fifty of his IPL career.
Rahane then fell, to break a 58-run stand, as he pulled uppishly into the hands of Nitish Rana.
Smith is an amazing talent. He looks like he’s never seen a cricket coaching manual, but bats better than most in the world. He was given a life when in 36 in the thirteenth over when Rana dropped him on the boundary and a player of his class needs no second invitation to dominate.
Mumbai Indians did well in the field to take the match into the final over with 13 still required, 10 were needed off the last three balls and the Pune nerves were jangling, but Smith hit two big leg-side sixes off Kieron Pollard to ease the tension and secure the points.
Ben Stokes batted positively on his IPL debut for 21 from 14 balls including three boundaries and MS Dhoni remained unbeaten on 12. For the first time in 144 IPL matches MS Dhoni was not captaining a side.
Tim Southee, Hardik Pandya and Mitchell McClenaghan had shared the wickets as Mumbai seemed to miss their two marquee bowlers, the veterans Lasith Malinga and Harbhajan Singh.
Earlier Parthiv Patel and Jos Buttler had added 43 in brisk time before Imran Tahir (3-28) bowled Patel and then knocked over Rohit Sharma’s stumps before having Buttler leg before.
Kieron Pollard scored 27 in 17 balls with a six and three fours and Hardik Pandya hit four sixes and a boundary off the first five balls of the final over as Mumbai rallied at the end to score a competitive 184 for seven. It would become the highest total they have failed to defend in the IPL.
Ashok Dinda’s final over conceded 30 runs, the most by any bowler in the 20th over in the IPL. Rajat Bhatia finished with figures of 2-14 from three overs, while it was a wicket each for Adam Zampa and Ben Stokes.
MI: 184-8 (Jos Buttler 38, Hardik Pandya 35*, Imran Tahir 3-28, Rajat Bhatia 2-14)
RPS: 187-3 in 19.5 Overs(AjinkyaRahane 60, Steven Smith 84*)
Man of the Match: Steven Smith
Full Scorecard: CLICK HERE
RPS beat MI by seven wickets.
CURRENT IPL2017 LEAGUE TABLE