Rashid Khan, the young Afghanistan leg-spinner has already made quite a noise in his debut Indian Premier League season. The highly talented youngster showed that he could work magic not just with the ball by affecting the crucial run-out of Rahul Tripathi in the match against Rising Pune Supergiants today.
Watch Rashid's spectacular effort here.
Rising Pune Supergiants had done extremely well to restrict the defending champions to a par total of 176. David Warner never quite got going and was contained by some smart bowling by Pune who have realised that their bowling efforts need improvement in order to win matches.
Chasing 177, Pune got off to a rollicking start despite losing Ajinkya Rahane early on. The unlikely star with the bat turned out to be Ranchi batsman, Rahul Tripathi. The opener slammed boundaries at will, even grabbing two in an over from the economical Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
Then came the moment of brilliance from the Afghan boy.
The crucial breakthrough
Pune were 98/2 at the end of 13 overs with Tripathi having already compiled his maiden IPL half-century. Dhoni had joined him after Rashid Khan had broken through Steven Smith with another one of his unreadable googlies.
Dhoni had been trying to break Rashid's line by stepping out but was unsuccessful thus far. The leggie had shortened his length each time the former Pune skipper stepped out and the trend continued in the 14th over.
Dhoni stepped out and Rashid pushed a quicker ball through to Dhoni's pads. A flick of his bat did not meet leather but brushed his pads and landed near short mid-wicket. Dhoni called for a quick run and was halfway through in no time but Tripathi wasn't prepared for the run.
The opener took his time to start running while Rashid Khan had quickly moved to the ball. The Afghan player picked up the ball and threw down the stumps all in one motion to catch Tripathi well short of his crease. The momentum that Pune had was disrupted and Rashid was once again the hero for Sunrisers Hyderabad.
How the game progressed
With Tripathi gone, Dhoni had a lot of responsibility on his shoulders to marshall the chase. The wicket-keeper batsman had coped a lot of criticism in the past few weeks for his minimal contributions for Pune despite batting at four.
With Ben Stokes falling soon after, Dhoni took it upon himself to take Pune home and played some eye-catching shots. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, arguably the best death bowler in this season of the IPL, was slammed for 19 in the penultimate over that included two fours and a six. With 11 required off of the final over, Dhoni and Manoj Tiwary reduced it to 2 off 1 ball. Dhoni then smashed Siddharth Kaul through extra cover for four to win the game for Pune.