Half-centuries from Ajinkya Rahane (60) and Steven Smith (84 not out) powered Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) to a 7–wicket victory in their first match of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2017, against Mumbai Indians (MI) at Pune. Chasing a stiff target of 185, Rising Pune Supergiant made a rollicking start with Rahane launching an attack against the Mumbai Indians’ bowlers, stroking his way to his fastest IPL fifty, just a day after Yuvraj Singh registered a similar feat. Smith, who has been in a red-hot form, happily played a second-fiddle to Rahane but took charge of the proceedings once he was dismissed to finish off an impressive win. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) vs Mumbai Indians (MI), IPL 2017 Match 2
Rahane remained the anchor of Rising Pune Supergiant’s run chase for more than half of their innings. His stroke play was exemplary, and seeing his partner hit a six over cover region off Mitchell McClenaghan, Smith was more than happy to take the backseat and watch the show. Smith opened up only after Rahane was dismissed, and completed his half-century to mark a successful start for the RPS top-order. The only glitch, however, was the failure of Mayank Agarwal with the bat. He was dismissed for 6. FULL CRICKET UPDATES: Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) vs Mumbai Indians (MI), IPL 2017 Match 2
Rahane and Smith added 58 runs for the second wicket which put Rising Pune Supergiant in a position from which they commanded the proceedings. Rotation of the strike was never going to be difficult for these two batsmen, but what turned out to be a treat was the strokeplay from the Rahane and Smith, right after an intense Test series between India and Australia.
Rahane had shown at Dharamsala he was ready for T20 cricket with a quickfire 38 not out off 27 balls, and his rich form was certified when he clobbered a delivery from McClenaghan over deep backward point for a six, in the sixth over.
But before that, Rahane had already raced to a 15-ball 28 with 4 boundaries and a six. Rahane began with 3 boundaries in the second over off Hardik Pandya to set the tone. In the next over — third of the innings — Rahane hammered a six and a four off Tim Southee to make his intentions clear.
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Mumbai Indians 184 for 8 in 20 overs (Jos Buttler 38, Nitish Rana 34, Hardik Pandya 35*; Hardik Pandya 3 for 28, Rajat Bhatia 2 for 14) lost to Rising Pune Supergiant 187 for 3 in 19.5 overs (Ajinkya Rahane 60, Steven Smith 84*, Tim Southee 1 for 34) by 7 wickets.