Supergiant storm into final


To dominate Mumbai at their fortress is not an easy task and playing their maiden play-off game, the Supergiant were the underdogs going into the tie. However, Steve Smith’s men had the psychological advantage of having beaten Mumbai twice in the league stage and they completed a hat-trick with a tremendous team-effort.

In the summit clash on May 21 in Hyderabad, the Supergiant will lock horns with the winner of the Qualifier 2.

Batting first, a fine performance from Ajinkya Rahane and Manoj Tiwary combined with a typical late burst from Mahendra Singh Dhoni took Supergiant to a fighting total of 162. 

Rahane slammed a composed 56 (43b, 5x4, 1x6) while Tiwary top scored with a gutsy 58 (48b, 4x4, 2x6) and their alliance of 80 runs allowed Pune to make a comeback after they were reduced to 9/2 in 1.5 overs. 

In the final five overs, it was a Dhoni special that propelled Pune. The veteran batsman smashed five sixes to remain unbeaten on 40 from 26 balls. Washington Sundar (16/3) then spun a web around the Mumbai batting and his superb first spell of 3-0-12-3 reduced the host to 51/4 in eight overs.

While opener Parthiv Patel (52, 40b, 3x4) tried hard to keep Mumbai in the hunt, the two-time champions never recovered from Sundar’s blow and were restricted to 142/9.

Introduced in the sixth over, the 17-year-old bagged the big wicket of Rohit Sharma. The Mumbai skipper was trapped in front after he failed to execute a sweep of a straight delivery. 

Two balls later, Ambati Rayudu played a pull to a shot ball that rushed on to him and gave a simple catch to Pune skipper Steve Smith at short midwicket. 

In Sundar’s next over, Kieron Pollard played an uppish flick to give Smith his second catch of the day. 

After a disappointing batting display, Mumbai batsmen will be hoping to show more patience and adopt better shot selection when they play the Qualifer 2 in Bengaluru on Friday. Earlier, it was an awful start from Pune with in-form batsmen Rahul Tripathi (0) and Steve Smith (1) back in the hut without troubling the scoreboard.

Rahane however ended his poor run and registered a sensible knock under pressure. 

Tiwary showed great determination and mixed caution with aggression to play a responsible innings. Karn Sharma broke the stand when he removed Rahane to keep Mumbai in control of the proceedings, At 121/3 in 18 overs, Pune were in desperate need of one big over to near the 150-mark and Dhoni was up for the challenge. The right-hander was at his vintage best and struck three sixes with utmost ease while Tiwary also sent one over the fence.

To make matters worse for the hosts, McClenaghan also bowled two wides and Pune gathered 26 runs from the over. The usually economical Bumrah was also not spared in the 20th over and Dhoni struck two more sixes. 

The visitors collected 41 runs from the final two overs and the late flourish eventually proved just enough for Pune.

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