On an even paced surface, Kings XI Punjab won the toss and decided to chase. When confronted with tight bowling, Rising Pune Supergiant lost early wickets and began to stutter in the middle-overs. However, some uninhibited hitting from all-rounder Ben Stokes as well as Manoj Tiwary carried their total to a respectable 163.
Even as the tricky chase appeared to be see-sawing from one direction to the next, skipper Glenn Maxwell joined hands with the experienced David Miller and took Punjab to an emphatic six-wicket victory.
Let us take a close look at who did what in the fascinating contest.
Kings XI Punjab
Glenn Maxwell – 9
Coming into the equation with the team requiring 81 runs from 56 balls, Maxwell made mincemeat of Pune’s bowling unit and ensured that the chase was all smooth sailing from then on. The captain’s 20-ball 44 was studded with four gigantic maximums.
David Miller – 8.5
An integral part of Kings XI’s setup, Miller showed his ability to read the situation cleverly. Realising that all he needed to do was to feed the strike to Maxwell, the left-hander played his part by offering steady support at the other end. As the chase neared its finishing line, he came into his own.
Axar Patel – 8.5
Apart from keeping things incredibly quiet in the middle-overs with his stump-to-stump line, Axar also provided Kings XI with the timely wicket of Stokes. Surprisingly promoted up the order, he contributed with a 22-ball 24. The only question mark over his performance today was the unconvincing strike-rate.
Sandeep Sharma – 7.5
As he so often does, Sandeep picked up a vital early wicket. Unleashing a slew of in-swingers to opener Mayank Agarwal, the 23-year-old got one to move in late and breached the batsman’s defence. Even though he did come in for some hammering in the final over of the innings, the right-armer’s economy rate was still quite reasonable.
Thangarasu Natarajan – 7.5
One of the heartwarming stories from the auction, Natarajan stormed into the limelight with the key wicket of Ajinkya Rahane off his very second delivery. Predominantly sticking to the full and wide line, the left-armer held his own on what could be labelled as a batting-friendly pitch.
Marcus Stoinis – 7
Stoinis managed to procure the prized scalp of Steven Smith before the Pune skipper could impart significant damage. With Maxwell and Miller sealing the deal, he was not required to bat.
Swapnil Singh – 7
From a couple of overs, Swapnil gave away just 14 runs. More importantly, the left-arm spinner got MS Dhoni into a tangle before getting rid of the veteran with a tossed-up delivery. The return catch though contained quite a few nervous moments.
Hashim Amla – 6.5
Usually a crisp timer of the ball, Amla could not quite find the gaps with his customary ease this time around. A few boundaries were interspersed with numerous dot-balls which brought down his strike-rate to an insufficient 103.70.
Mohit Sharma – 6.5
Mohit's figures could have looked completely different had Manan Vohra held on to the opportunity provided by Rahane. Even though his full quota of overs cost 34 runs, the seamer had to bowl at the tougher stages of the innings.
Wriddhiman Saha – 5.5
The wicket-keeper batsman came in at number three and started to unfurl a flurry of boundaries. As he looked at home against pace, Smith brought in leg-spinner Imran Tahir to unsettle him. The end result saw Saha unable to decipher the well-disguised googly.
Manan Vohra – 5
Despite beginning promisingly with a six and four, Vohra‘s ultra-aggressive approach became his own undoing. A shorter delivery from Ashok Dinda cramped him into an uncomfortable position even as the accompanying top-edge was gobbled up by the gleeful catcher.
Rising Pune Supergiant
Manoj Tiwary – 9
A veteran in the Indian domestic scene, Manoj Tiwary added the finishing touches to Pune’s innings with a blistering 23-ball 40. Were it not for his controlled hitting in the death overs, the team total could have been much lesser.
Ben Stokes – 9
The most expensive overseas player in IPL history, Stokes could have plenty to live up to. The hard-hitting southpaw imposed himself on the proceedings with a half-century from 32 balls. Some of his shots defied belief and reiterated his brute force. However, he could not extend his batting heroics to the bowling department as evidenced by four lacklustre overs.
Imran Tahir – 8.5
The attacking wrist-spinner had his fair share of responsibility to help Pune defend a below-par total. Although he did chip in with two handy wickets, Punjab saw him off without further damage.
Ashok Dinda – 7
Coming into this game on the back of a horror show in Pune, Dinda had a much better outing this time around. He sent down three decent overs and managed to dismiss the explosive Manan Vohra.
Daniel Christian – 6.5
Within the space of a game, Christian traversed both extremes in the two major departments. While he scored a quick-fire 17 from 8 deliveries, the all-rounder found himself parting with 23 runs from two overs with the ball.
Rahul Chahar – 6.5
Playing his maiden T20 game, 17-year-old Chahar was not unnerved by the occasion. The leg-spinner claimed the wicket of a man who knew a thing or two about negotiating slow bowlers. Hashim Amla failed to account for the youngster’s smart change in pace and picked out the long-off fielder.
Ajinkya Rahane – 6
Showing discernible urgency at the top of the order, Rahane got off to another breezy start. When it looked like he was going to make Punjab pay for dropping him, the right-hander chased a wide delivery and sliced it straight to the fielder manning the cover boundary.
Steven Smith – 5
After compiling a stunning knock against Mumbai Indians in Pune, Smith struggled to find his rhythm against a much more canny bowling attack. A strike-rate of less than 100 proved to be detrimental to his team’s cause during the first half of their innings.
Rajat Bhatia – 4.5
Possessing an assortment of slower deliveries in his arsenal, Bhatia did not make any impact in this game. From two overs, the medium pacer ceded 20 runs as the batsmen were at ease with his variations.
MS Dhoni – 3
The 35-year-old was not his usual self on a surface ideal for his style of batting. The seasoned campaigner grappled badly for form and could only labour to an 11-ball 5 before lobbing a simple return catch.
Mayank Agarwal – 2.5
Not equipped to handle Sandeep Sharma's extravagant swing, Agarwal perished within the first over itself for a four-ball duck. The manner of his dismissal should worry the team management regarding the vital second opener slot.