MS Dhoni roared back into form to fire Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) to a 6–wicket victory, over Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in the 24th match of the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) 2017 tournament, on Saturday. Dhoni scored 61 not out whereas Rahul Tripathi smacked 59 to help Rising Pune Supergiant chase a target of 177 set by Sunrisers Hyderabad on a tricky wicket, which seemed to have eased out for batting towards the evening. Dhoni’s innings marked his first half-century in the ongoing IPL 10, with the veteran cricketer struggling for runs as well as rhythm in the initial games for RPS. FULL CRICKET SCORES: Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) vs Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH), IPL 2017 Match 24
Dhoni scored 61 not out off 34 balls with 3 sixes and 5 boundaries to lift RPS to clinch a memorable win for his team. With 29 needed off final two overs, Dhoni smacked 19 runs off Bhuvneshwar Kumar and then hit a last ball six — with 2 runs needed — to seal a victory. Chasing 177 to win, RPS were off to a cautious start, getting a mere 5 runs off the first two overs. Both Ajinkya Rahane and Tripathi did not launch an attack right away, and instead looked to rotate the strike. Tripathi, however, was the first to take the initiative and smacked two boundaries off Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the third over. FULL CRICKET UPDATES: Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) vs Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH), IPL 2017 Match 24
RPS were jolted on the first ball of the fourth over, when Rahane tried hitting against the strong breeze — a constant factor in the game — off Bipul Sharma and was caught by Siddharth Kaul for a 7-ball 2. Tripathi, who had crossed ends by end, hit his third boundary. Steven Smith, back into action after a two-day holiday in Dubai, began with a four dancing down the track.
Tripathi got a lifeline on the first ball of the fifth over when Bipul spilled a tough chance running backward, from his fielding position of short fine leg. He did get his hands on the ball but it was too tough a take for him, and Mohammad Siraj was denied a wicket. Tripathi immediately got his act together, and struck a six and a four to not allow the momentum to be lost.
In the next over — sixth of the innings — Tripathi collected 18 runs off Kaul. The third ball was hit over long-on for a six, followed by a boundary between cover and mid-off. Tripathi ended the over with a six over point with the ball going high in the air. Tripathi brought up his half-century with a single off Rashid Khan in the seventh over.
In the 10th over, Smith opened up when he hit two consecutive sixes off Bipul to get a move-on. However, it was not going to be Smith’s day as the RPS captain did not pick a googly from Rashid after being watchful throughout, and walked off being livid at himself. Smith chopped on to provide the opposition a breakthrough, at a crucial stage.
MS Dhoni was promoted ahead of Ben Stokes but the batsman took his time to settle in. A tough call for a single by the former RPS captain also proved to be horribly wrong for his side, but Rashid deserved rich praise for his effort.
Dhoni was not allowed room when he shimmied down the wicket, and the ball hit him on the pads. Dhoni still called for a single and Rahul responded. However, Rashid was quick to get to the ball, picked it one-handed and threw it directly at the stumps when he was still in the air. Tripathi was short of the crease by a considerable margin when the stumps were broken.
When Dhoni had walked in, RPS needed 9 an over. But soon, the asking rate shot up to 15 an over with RPS losing Smith and Tripathi after a healthy stand. Dhoni was needed to rediscover his form, which he could find very late in the innings. In the 18th over from Bhuvneshwar, he cracked a six over long-on and followed it up with a four over point.
With 29 needed off 12, Dhoni turned up the heat on the Purple Cap-holder Bhuvneshwar, hitting two consecutive fours off the bowler. The third ball was dispatched over long-on — the helicopter shot coming into play — and RPS had sealed the fate of the game. Dhoni’s onslaught brought the equation down to 11 needed off the final over.
Tiwary seemed to have struck a six on the first ball of the last over, but the strong breeze held the ball back enough for Rashid to convert it into a wicket. The ball, however, hit the ground and crossed the ropes, after passing through the fielder’s hands.
Dhoni and Tiwary tried their best to find a boundary, which came off the former’s bat only on the last ball of the game. Dhoni hit a four past the man at cover to take RPS to their third victory out of six matches so far in IPL 2017.
Earlier, Yuvraj Singh missed out on the contest as Rising Pune Supergiant won the toss and asked Sunrisers Hyderabad to bat. David Warner scored 43, and Shikhar Dhawan made a 29-ball 30. However, it was a fine half-century from Moises Henriques — 55 not out off 28 balls — that took SRH to a daunting total of 176 for 3.
Sunrisers Hyderabad 176 for 3 in 20 overs (David Warner 43, Shikhar Dhawan 30, Moises Henriques 55*; Dan Christian 1 for 20, Imran Tahir 1 for 23) lost to Rising Pune Supergiant 179 for 4 in 20 overs (Rahul Tripathi 59, MS Dhoni 61*; Rashid Khan 1 for 17) by 6 wickets.
Man of the Match: MS Dhoni