Royal Pune Supergiant won the sixth match this season playing against Gujarat Lions at their home ground. It was the maiden T20 century from Ben Stokes that hauled the team to the winning mark. Gujarat, batting first, were headstrong at the beginning reaching its optimal run rate throughout the powerplay overs. However, the inning slackened by the latter stretch. After the top order dismantled, Pune bowlers reached the upper hand attacking wickets to reduce the team 6 for 135 before the 15th over. In the 18th over, Jaydev Unadkat toppled James Faulkner and Pradeep Sangwan bringing the inning closer to the end. Gujarat Lions collapsed at 161.
While Gujarat’s inning was stronger in the beginning, Pune’s inning was stronger in the latter part. In the chase, Pune slumped its top order under paltry runs. In the first over delivered by Pradeep Sangwan, both Ajinkya Rahane and Steven Smith were removed. In the next over, Basil Thampi trapped Manoj Tiwary. By the end of the powerplay, the chase was at 42 for 4 wickets. It was Ben Stokes, who came to bat fifth down the line finally putting up the required resistance against Gujarat. He partnered with MS Dhoni for 76 runs in a stretch of 10.4 overs. The partnership hauled the chase to 118 runs by 16 overs. Dhoni took advantage of pace, leaving aside the spins.
Spinners helped Gujarat a bit, as even Ben Stokes had to pause at the overs from Ankit Soni. However, the player hammered those from Ravindra Jadeja to settle the score. The strike brought down the asking rate to double the remaining balls after the 14th over. While Dhoni was trying to do away with the pressure of wicket lost, Stokes sent in Dwayne Smith for successive boundaries. By the last four overs, Pune reduced the equation to 44 to win bringing down the asking rate from 12 to 10.
Thampi dismissed Dhoni in the first ball of the 17th over. Daniel Christian came up with a strong strike against James Faulkner, which was a need of the moment. By the last two overs, Gujarat required 25 runs. Ben Stokes’ two sixes off Basil Thampi was the turning point of the match. His trouble due to cramps was apparent, still the batsman did not let the momentum to slow down a bit. He remained unbeaten scoring 103 off 63 balls. It was mainly Stokes’ enterprise that let Pune to win the match by 5 wickets with 1 ball remaining.
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