Pune pulled off an unlikely victory choking Mumbai Indians, in their fortress to snap the home team’s 6-match winning streak, while extending their own to 3 games. Let’s look at how each of the players performed.
Rising Pune Supergiant
Ajinkya Rahane (7/10)
The elegant opener got Rising Pune Supergiant to a good start. He crashed five fours and a six adding an excellent 76 runs for his team with their rookie sensation, Rahul Tripathi, in just 57 balls. The only drawback of his innings was his lower strike-rate of 118.75 and just when he was ready to take off, was done in by a top-spinner from Karn Sharma. A half-century or more was definitely on the cards after the foundation.
Rahul Tripathi (8/10)
The 26-year old Maharashtra player is having a good season and continued his fine form at the top making up for Rahane’s slower pace. Smashing three fours and two sixes, Tripathi top-scored for Pune, scoring 45 in just 31 balls at a strike-rate of 145.16. He looked in good nick too until he mistimed one to Kieron Pollard at wide long-off. His wicket was probably the turning point for Pune as they were 93 for 1 in the 12th over when he fell and thereafter, mustered just 67 runs in the last 8.3 overs.
Steve Smith (6/10)
It was an off-date for Smith with the bat. He was dropped early on by Harbhajan Singh, off the bowling of Karn Sharma. But after cracking a couple of fours, the Pune skipper was done in by a top-spinner from Harbhajan, missing it completely and getting his stumps castled. He managed only 17 off 12 balls.
In terms of captaincy though, Smith did well on the field. He took a brilliant catch at long off to snare the big wicket of Pollard, keeping Pune in the match and then marshalled the troops later spectacularly to squeeze the life out of the Mumbai Indians’ chase.
MS Dhoni (3/10)
Dhoni couldn’t repeat his pyrotechnics from the other day, never really taking off. He made only 7 off 11 balls and inside-edged one from Jasprit Bumrah onto his stumps in the 18th over. Behind the stumps, Dhoni was cool and efficient as usual but didn’t get an opportunity to really show off his brilliance.
Ben Stokes (9/10)
With the bat, Stokes’ innings was characteristic of his season so far – started with promise but never flourished. He scored a quickfire 17 off 12 balls but lost his leg-stump missing out on a rather innocuous looking delivery from Mitchell Johnson. With the ball, Stokes was sensational starting off with a wicket-maiden picking up his England teammate, the dangerous Jos Buttler.
In the next over, he got Karn Sharma and was until the end, Pune’s best bowler with the greatest control. Stokes single-handedly brought Pune into the match, bowling a sensational 19th over where he gave away just 7 runs despite Rohit Sharma and Hardik Pandya trying to throw the kitchen sink at everything. He also pulled off a brilliant catch to get Pandya in the final over.
The Englishman’s economical 7-run 19th over gave Unadkat 16 runs to defend in the final over, a massive cushion indeed. Stokes had figures of 4-1-21-2 – justifying his massive IPL price. To top it off, he got the Player of the Match too!
Manoj Tiwary (6/10)
Tiwary once again played a cameo under pressure with some fluent hitting. He smashed four fours for his 13-ball 22 that pushed Pune to a par score of 160. It was Tiwary’s big shots that took Pune from 138 for 5 in 17.3 overs to 158 for 6 in 19.4 overs. Tiwary has one of the best averages and strike-rates of all Pune batsmen but gets very limited chances surprisingly.
However, Tiwary dropped a sitter on the field, reprieving Karn Sharma, while also missing out on a half-chance from Parthiv Patel.
Dan Christian (5/10)
He didn’t get a lot of balls to bat but contributed 8 off 7 balls with the bat, including a four. With the ball, he picked up the in-form Nitish Rana in his very first over, giving away just 6 runs and helping Pune stay in control when MI were 51 for 2 in the 8th over. For the limited opportunities he got in the match, Christian did his bit.
Washington Sundar (7/10)
Sundar, an U-19 player for India playing his first IPL match, was given a big responsibility by Steve Smith when he had to open the bowling. The 17-year old off-break bowler didn’t let his captain down showing great maturity and giving away just 3 runs.
In his second over, he went for three fours but came back after the power-play really well, giving away 10 runs in those 2 overs and getting his first IPL wicket off the last ball of his spell. For his first appearance, the teenager’s figures of 4-0-26-1 were really impressive, not to mention the bonus wicket of the well-set Parthiv Patel.
Imran Tahir (6/10)
Tahir didn’t pull off miracles but then bowled decently for figures of 1-32 in his 4 overs. He got the big wicket of Pollard, the turning point, and could have had the wicket of Karn Sharma had Tiwary not dropped a sitter at short midwicket. Tahir was hit for a six the very next ball to add salt to injury. Nevertheless, he was reasonably steady throughout the spell.
Jaydev Unadkat (6/10)
Unadkat’s figures were ordinary, 4-0-40-2, but he did bowl the all-important final over. Stokes gave him 16 runs to defend, credit to the man, but Unadkat kept his cool picking up the two big wickets of Pandya and Rohit Sharma in the over. He took a sky-er from Rohit under pressure to seal the match for Pune. Unadkat though conceded a lot of loose deliveries in the early part of the innings, bowling length balls that were clobbered away by batsmen. He was the most expensive bowler of the day.
Shardul Thakur (4/10)
Shardul, who has been bowling some excellent spells this IPL, had an off-day with figures of 0-29 in his 3 overs. More than the number of runs he conceded, it was disappointing to see him spray the ball all over the place, especially down the leg-side with the fine leg up. Nevertheless, he was able to crank up the pace and could be an asset if he picks up control.
Parthiv Patel (7/10)
Patel was efficient behind the stumps and was brisk at the top of the innings. He scored 33 off 27 balls with 4 fours getting Mumbai to a good start. However, he was guilty of throwing it away when really needed playing a risky cut shot off a ball that wasn’t there to be cut. At that point, MI were 60 for 3 in 9 overs and needed Patel to make up for the lost time.
Jos Buttler (4/10)
Buttler hasn’t yet brought the house alive this season, once again getting a start but mishitting a loft straight to long on off the bowling of his England team-mate, Ben Stokes. Buttler added 35 in quick time with Parthiv but failed to kick on after his start, something he has been guilty of right through the season.
Nitish Rana (1/10)
Rana had an off-day. The electric fielder who has been in good form this season and has been one of the stalwarts for Mumbai Indians played out 9 balls for just 3 runs which slowed MI down drastically resulting in his wicket as well as that of Parthiv’s a little later. He got out to a poor shot, slashing a short ball to third man.
Rohit Sharma (8.10)
The top-scorer of the day did everything he could except getting Mumbai over the line. He scored a 39-ball 58 with six fours and three sixes and looked all set to win it for his team, only to succumb to pressure and some excellent bowling from Ben Stokes in the 19th over.
Rohit was left with a little too much to do in the final over and mishit one that was gobbled up by the bowler, Unadkat. He hit some clean and elegant shots. He also marshalled his troops excellently keeping Pune down to 160 on a small ground after a really good start.
Karn Sharma (7/10)
His elevation as a pinch hitter didn’t quite work out - he scored just 11 off 10 balls, with one six - a decision that probably cost MI the momentum in the middle order. With the ball, Karn playing in the place of the injured Krunal Pandya registered figures of 2-39 off his 4 overs getting both the well-set openers one after the other in successive overs.
That brought MI back into the match after Pune had put on 76 in less than 10 overs without losing a wicket. His wickets went a long way to keep Pune under check. He could have also gotten the big wicket of Steve Smith if Harbhajan Singh had not dropped a regulation catch at deep square leg.
Keiron Pollard (3/10)
Pollard couldn’t do much and his wicket, thanks to an inadvertent shot when Rohit was batting well at the other end, probably brought Pune back into the match. He scored just 9 off 9 balls and didn’t get to bowl. Nevertheless, he was excellent in the field as usual, taking a good catch as well.
Hardik Pandya (5/10)
Pandya interestingly didn’t bowl at all for MI. On hindsight, MI could have gone with an extra batsman with Pandya bowling the four overs that Karn was brought in for. Pandya smashed two good fours in the 18th over in his 11-ball 13 ensuring MI were in the chase before Stokes bowled a brilliant 19th over. His dismissal off the first ball of the 20th over probably sealed the doors on MI.
Harbhajan Singh (8/10)
Although he dropped Smith off Karn Sharma’s bowling, Harbhajan made amends by getting the Pune skipper, which was also his 200th T20 wicket. The MI legend registered match figures of 1-20 in his 4 overs ensuring Pune never really got the move on after a good start.
Harbhajan even hit a 6 off the last ball of the match but it was a little too less a little too late. Interestingly, it could have been him instead of Karn as pinch-hitter seeing as it probably was his day, the way he bowled with control and precision.
Mitchell McClenaghan (5/10)
McClenaghan, who has made it back to the New Zealand Champions Trophy squad bowled with heart as usual but couldn’t get his golden arm rolling. He had an ordinary day at the office, one of the reasons why Pune got off to such a good start. He gave away 36 runs in his 4 overs without picking up a single wicket, a rarity for the left-arm fast bowler.
Mitchell Johnson (6/10)
Johnson bowled fast but is yet to discover his mojo at the IPL. He registered figures of 1/34 and took the big wicket of Ben Stokes, albeit through poor shot selection from Stokes. Nevertheless, Johnson hasn’t exactly managed to fill the boots of Lasith Malinga. MI will hope that Johnson starts getting his rhythm back as they move into the business end of the IPL.
Jasprit Bumrah (8/10)
Bumrah continued to impress as India’s best death bowler. He showed it once again bowling unplayable yorkers and slower deliveries. He picked up the wickets of Tiwary and Dhoni in the 18th and 20th over preventing Pune from getting too many runs in the end. It was his effort that ensured Pune scored only 160 in their 20 overs.
It was tragic that Bumrah’s brilliance came in a losing cause, but he was seriously calm and impressive despite the franticness of the end overs.