An outstanding bowling effort from Ben Stokes saw Rising Pune Supergiant defeat table-toppers Mumbai Indians by three runs at the Wankhede Stadium on Monday.
Stokes started his spell in superb fasion with a wicket-maiden, accounting for international team-mate Jos Buttler [17 off 13 balls] in the process. It was an even more remarkable feat considering the over came in the Powerplay.
The England all-rounder was instantly hauled out of the attack but had a second wicket from the first delivery of his next over, accounting for two scalps without conceding a run. It was devastating stuff and more was to come from Stokes, whose most important contribution came in the penultimate over of the match.
With Mumbai needing 24 runs to win from the final two overs, Pune captain Steve Smith entrusted Stokes to bowl the crucial 19th over and the Durham man delivered in style.
An artful combination of slower deliveries and yorkers saw just seven runs [six singles and one wide] coming off the over to put Pune in control.
With 17 runs to defend in the final over, Jaydev Unadkat was given the ball and the Indian left-arm pacer dismissed Hardik Pandya [13 off 11 balls] off the first delivery after Stokes took a brilliant diving catch at deep cover.
Rohit Sharma [58 off 39 balls], batting beautifully at the time and having registered his first half-century of the season, slammed the next delivery for six to put the pressure back on Unadkat. The next ball was bowled away from Rohit’s body and, somewhat controversially, a wide wasn’t called, to the clear anger of the Mumbai captain.
With 11 runs to win off the last three deliveries, Rohit went for a big heave towards the leg-side but only managed to get height and not distance on the ball. Unadkat completed a caught-and-bowled which more or less sealed the game for Pune.
Earlier, Ajinkya Rahane [38 off 32 balls] and Rahul Tripathi [45 off 31 balls]gave the visitors a fabulous start as the duo put on 76 runs for the first wicket. Tripathi continues to impress, with this being his fourth consecutive 30+ score since he started opening the batting.
Karn Sharma, playing in his first match for the Mumbai Indians, dismissed both the openers to put a lid on the scoring in the middle overs as the Pune middle-order of Smith [17 off 12 balls], MS Dhoni [7 off 11 balls], and Stokes [17 off 12 balls] failed to make a meaningful impact.
Harbhajan Singh bowled a top spell for the hosts as he conceded just 20 runs and took the crucial scalp of Smith – which was his 200th wicket in T20 cricket – in his four overs. The off-spinner became just the third Indian after Ravichandran Ashwin and Amit Mishra to reach that landmark.
A late flourish from Manoj Tiwary [22 off 13 balls] gave the innings some impetus, but Jasrpit Bumrah was brilliant in the death overs once again as Pune ended their innings on 160-6.
In his four overs, Bumrah picked up two wickets and conceded 29 runs, a fine return considering he bowled the 18th and 20th overs.
Having done the double over their Maharashtrian rivals, Pune move back to the fourth spot on the IPL table with eight points from seven matches. This was, in fact, their third successive win after having lost the three games before.
On the other hand, Mumbai still continue to be at the top as this was just their second loss [incredibly, both have come against Pune] in the tournament. With 12 points from seven matches, they are still in a brilliant position to get into the playoffs as one of the top two teams.
Rising Pune Supergiant 160-6, 20 overs [Tripathi 45, Rahane 38, Bumrah 2-29] beat Mumbai Indians 157-8, 20 overs [Rohit 58, Patel 33, Stokes 2-21] by three runs.
Player of the Match – Ben Stokes