Washington Sundar produced an outstanding spell of bowling to guide Rising Pune Supergiant to the final of the 2017 Indian Premier League [IPL] as they pulled off a 20-run win over Mumbai Indians in Qualifier 1 at the Wankhede Stadium on Tuesday.
Sundar, who is just 17 years old, has been an integral part of the Pune team this season and he chose a great time to register his best bowling figures (3-16 from four overs) in T20 cricket.
Chasing 163, Mumbai got off to a solid start with Parthiv Patel hitting three sixes in the first four overs, but then came a moment of fortune for Pune.
Lendl Simmons, who was backing up, was caught off guard as a straight drive from Patel deflected off the bowler Shardul Thakur’s fingertips to hit the stumps at the non-strikers’ end which resulted in a run-out.
It was then that Sundar came to the party as he took three crucial wickets, dismissing the experienced Mumbai trio of Rohit Sharma, Ambati Rayudu, and Kieron Pollard.
The Supergiant off-spinner was a little lucky to get the wicket of Rohit as the Mumbai captain seemed to have got an inside edge but was given out leg-before-wicket.
The Pandya brothers, Hardik and Krunal, both got starts but weren’t able to kick on and play a match-winning knock.
At the other end, Patel had managed to bring up his second fifty in this year’s tournament and it was his dismissal in the 15th over which, more or less, ended the match as a contest.
Thakur was also impressive with the ball, picking up three wickets for Pune.
Earlier, after being put into bat, Pune got off to the worst possible start as they lost the wickets of Rahul Tripathi and Steve Smith within the first couple of overs and were reduced to 9-2.
Ajinkya Rahane and Manoj Tiwary were on hand to steady the ship as they stitched together an 80-run partnership for the third wicket which got Pune right back into the game.
Rahane notched up just his second half-century of the season as he hit five fours and one six in his 43-ball 56.
Tiwary also scored an important fifty, but Pune seemed to be heading towards a below-par total and it needed a late burst from MS Dhoni to get them to 162-4 in their 20 overs.
Dhoni smashed five sixes as he managed to score an unbeaten 40 from just 26 balls, with the final two overs of Pune’s innings yielding 41 runs.
This loss isn’t the end of the road for Mumbai as they will now travel to Bengaluru to face the winner of the Eliminator which will see Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kolkata Knight Riders battling against each other.
On the other hand, Pune have made it to their first IPL final and will face either Mumbai, Hyderabad, or Kolkata in Hyderabad on Sunday.
Speaking after the match, Pune captain Smith said: “Big game, big players stood up. I thought MS was magnificent at the end with Manoj Tiwary. Ajinkya Rahane batted beautifully at the start to give us a chance and have a bit of a launching pad at the back-end.
“(Sundar was) magnificent. It’s never easy against batters who are trying to go after you but his lengths were magnificent.”
Rising Pune Supergiant 162-4, 20 overs [Tiwary 58, Rahane 56, Dhoni 40*, Malinga 1-14] beat Mumbai Indians 142-9 [Patel 52, Sundar 3-16, Thakur 3-37] by 20 runs.
Player of the Match – Washington Sundar.