Yes, Rising Pune Supergiant came out as the only team that remained formidable against Mumbai Indians, the team considered as the strongest this season. Well, if someone defeats the ‘strongest,’ the moniker simply shifts the side. Defeating Mumbai in the first qualifier, Pune sealed its berth in the final tournament. Undoubtedly, Pune is now the strongest of all. Mumbai has defeated every other team at least once this IPL, but Pune. With the latest one included it is been three times Pune defeated Mumbai.
Considering their home ground, Wankhede, as a chasing pitch, Mumbai sent it Pune to bat first. The surface was indeed slow and what cloud have been close to 200, remained close to 150. Pune scored 162 runs in the inning. Pune did not loss any composure and the top order batted responsibly. Ajinkya Rahane delivered the much-expected strike from his end after a long hiatus in the tournament. The opener scored 56 off 43 balls.
Mumbai could remove only two batsmen, which included captain Steven Smith. It all happened before the end of Powerplay overs. Rahul Tripathi was taken by Mitchell McClenaghan in the first over slogging him at duck. While, Smith was dismissed five balls latter by Malinga. In the next stretch, Rahane and Manoj Tiwari forged a partnership of 80 runs in 10.5 overs hauling the score to a decent figure. Dhoni was back to form in the match, striking 40 off 26. It was a gist of his classy play. His inning had only sixes and his trademark fast-running over the pitch.
The home team had lot of aspirations from the crowd, but it was off spinner Washington Sunder, who washed it all away. Mumbai lost Lendl Simmons first: a run out. Then came the slog of three top batsmen attacked by Sunder. In the concluding powerplay over he removed Rohit Sharma and Ambati Rayadu. Run rate was at hit as Mumbai lots its top guns. The wicket of Keiron Pollard in the eighth over was the turning point of the inning.
The chased suddenly became a second rated one, slogged at 4 for 51 by almost half the inning. The top order gone, coming down to the middle line-up. The Pandya brothers played until next six overs batting alongside Pathiv Patel. Untill the fifteenth over, the opener sustained the attack hammering even a half century of 58 runs. But losing Patel was like losing the last man standing for Mumbai.
The rest was easy for Pune. Jasprit Bumrah batting at 10, scored 16 off 11 balls, an impressive stance. In the final over pressure the player smashed a six even if the win emerged unreachable. Bumrah and Malinga chased the target to 142 finally ending the inning 20 runs short. Now, Rohit’s men have another chance to lift themselves to the final. The second qualifier will determine if they would play their maiden final this season.
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