Mumbai Indians falter as MS Dhoni, Washington Sundar power RPS into IPL final

Mumbai: Ajinkya Rahane (56 off 43 balls) and Manoj Tiwary (58 off 48 balls) scored fifties, but it was MS Dhoni (40 off 26 balls) and Washington Sundar (3/16), who stole the show as Rising Pune Supergiant, on Tuesday, beat Mumbai Indians by 20 runs to storm into the final of IPL 2017.

The win, which was RPS’ 3rd against MI in this edition of the tournament, also bettered their head-to-head record to 4-1 against the Mukesh Ambani-owned IPL side.

MI though still have one more shot to make it to the final as they will face the winners of the Eliminator tie between Kolkata Knight Riders and defending champions Sunrisers Hyderabad.

RPS, who had hammered 41 runs in the last 2 overs to put up 162 runs on the board, did not let the momentum slip as MI were reduced to 51 for 4 by the end of 8 overs.  Lendl Simmons (5 off 13 balls) was run out as the ball ricocheted onto the stumps after brushing Shardul Thakur's fingertips. However, it was Washington Sundar, who derailed the MI chase.

The 17-year-old off-spinner, who was brought into the RPS side as Ravichandran Ashwin’s replacement, repaid the faith shown in him by scalping the three big wickets of Rohit Sharma (1 off 2 balls), Ambati Rayudu (0 off 3 balls) and Kieron Pollard (7 off 10 balls).

The Pandya brothers – Krunal (15 off 11 balls) and Hardik (14 off 10 balls) – were the next two to get out before Shardul Thakur (3/37) dismissed Parthiv Patel (52 off 40 balls) to end MI’s slim hopes of pulling off a heist.

While Jasprit Bumrah (16* off 11 balls) and Mitchell McClenaghan (12 off 11 balls) hit a couple of big shots, it was never going to be enough as RPS managed to restrict MI to 142 seal a 20–run win and a place in the final. 

Earlier, after RPS were put in to bat, the Mumbai crowd did not have to wait for too long to erupt in joy as McClenaghan’s in-swinger broke through Rahul Tripathi’s (0 off 2 balls) defence and disturbed the timber. Then came the body blow for Pune as Lasith Malinga dismissed Steve Smith (1 off 2 balls) in the 2nd over.

The Australian skipper failed to time one through the leg-side as the ball took a leading edge and Hardik Pandya pouched it gleefully moving towards point.

Pune then pushed Tiwary ahead of Dhoni.

While the Bengal batsman and Rahane steadied the ship with 65-ball 80-run stand, the Sanjeev Goenka-owned side failed to accelerate. Dhoni walked in to bat in the 13th over after Rahane was adjudged LBW off Karn Sharma. RPS were struggling at that point, having scored just 89 with just seven overs in hand.

The team crossed three-figure mark in the 15th over as Dhoni smacked one through the leg side for six. But that did not help the matters as MI only conceded 17 runs in the next three overs as RPS were tottering at 121/3 from 18 overs and 150 looked rather far-fetched. Dhoni was then batting on 14 off 17 balls while Tiwary was batting on 46 from 44 balls.

But fortunes turned and MI lost the plot as Dhoni and Tiwary churned out 41 runs off last 2 overs. The 19th over bowled by McClenaghan not only ruined his bowling analysis for the day, (from 1/20 in 3 overs to 1/46 from 4 overs) but also changed the course of the match as RPS scored 26 to move closer 150. The first ball from McClenaghan cost MI 11 runs as Tiwary hit a four on no-ball to complete his fifty and made the most of a free-hit delivery to hit a straight six. The things went downhill quickly for the Kiwi pacer as Dhoni hammered him for two maximums on the either side of the two wide balls.

Rohit had missed the trick as Malinga did not complete his quota of overs and RPS made MI pay for by scoring 15 runs in the final over bowled by Bumrah to finish the innings at 162/3 with Dhoni remaining unbeaten on 40 off 26 balls, scoring 26 off last 9 balls he faced and Tiwary scoring 12 off the last 4 deliveries before being run out on the final ball.

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