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Rohit Sharma and Steven Smith exchanged memento before the game © BCCI
Captain Steven Smith continued with his stupendous form to guide his side Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) to a comfortable 7-wicket victory over Mumbai Indians (MI) in the Match 2 of the ongoing IPL 2017. MI put in to bat first went on to post a challenging total of 184 riding on all-rounder Hardik Pandya’s 15-ball 35 cameo. But RPS, riding on the half-century from opener Ajinkya Rahane’s 60 off 38 deliveries and Smith’s unbeaten 84 off 54 deliveries ensured the home side surpassing the required total on the penultimate delivery of the game. Moreover, for RPS, spinner Imran Tahir surged as the star performer getting 3 wickets conceding runs in his 4 overs. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) vs Mumbai Indians (MI), IPL 2017 Match 2
Pune began brightly but lost Mayank Agarwal (6) in the fourth over bowled by Mitchell McClenaghan and that put some brake on the quick start. The other opener Ajinkya Rahane and captain Steven Smith batted sensibly with a mix of caution and aggression to take Pune to 93 for 1 at the halfway mark. Rahane reached to his 32nd T20 fifty with a four off Hardik Pandya in the ninth over but he fell two overs later while attempting a pull shot with Nitish Rana taking a smart catch at deep square leg. Rahane hit six boundaries and three sixes in his 34-ball knock and shared 58 runs for the second wicket with Smith.
Smith then dropped anchor and showed his class by hitting some exquisite shots to ensure that Pune remained in the hunt in his debut captaincy for the Pune side. Smith was dropped on 36 off the bowling of McClenaghan with Nitish Rana being the culprit.
Mumbai raised some hopes of a win after Hardik Pandya dismissed Ben Stokes, this IPL season’s costliest buy, for 21. But it was shortlived as Smith snatched the game from the jaws of defeat.
Earlier, Hardik Pandya’s late heroics took Mumbai Indians to 184 for 8 after leg-spinner Imran Tahir produced a sensational three-wicket burst in the space of 10 balls. South African Tahir (3/28), who was unsold in the IPL auction and drafted in the Pune team as a late replacement, triggered a top-order collapse to put brakes on Mumbai’s rollicking start after they were put into bat.
Tahir cleaned up Patel in his second ball of the match, giving Pune the first breakthrough after Mumbai had knocked off 41 runs in the first four overs. He dealt a body blow to Mumbai in his next over by sending back captain Rohit Sharma (3 off 7 balls) who tried to work Tahir’s delivery to the leg side without any foot movement only to lose his stumps.
Butler had hit his England team-mate and this season’s costliest buy Ben Stokes (1/36) for two consecutive sixes to set the tempo of the match. Rajat Bhatia (2/14) had Ambati Rayudu caught and bowled for 10 before Mumbai reached 100-run mark in 13th over. Bhatia then cut short Krunal Pandya’s (3) stay at the crease to just five balls to reduce Mumbai to 107 for five in the 14th over.
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.
Man of the Match: Steven Smith.
(With inputs from PTI)