Pune beat Punjab, seal IPL play-off spot

Amos Gonzales
May 18, 2017

Mumbai: Indian Premier League leaders Mumbai Indians will look to carry their momentum into Qualifier 1 and seal a final berth when they take on state rivals Rising Pune Supergiant at Wankhede Stadium here on Tuesday. Ajinkya Rahane and Manoj Tiwary played vital knocks and in the end, Dhoni was at his destructive best, smashing 40 off 26 balls propelling Pune to 162. In this match, they would be hoping that Simmons and Pollard could have some swing with that heavy bat. Mumbai, who had topped the group stages, remain in the competition and will meet the victor of Eliminator between Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kolkata Knight Riders. The poor shot selection was also one of the reasons for the loss of MI as they will have to face the winning team from the second semifinal.

Sundar, who had bowled his first over for 8, came back into the attack in the last over of powerplay with Mumbai at 41/1 and trapped Rohit Sharma in front off the very first delivery.

Rising Pune may have felt they were short of a par score at the mid-innings break, but they had one significant aspect going for them: a two-paced Wankhede surface.

Fifth-placed Punjab are on a roll lately and will be a tough nut to crack for Pune, who are now on 16 points from 13 games with a net run rate of -0.083. Big day and big players stand up.

Dan Christian and Jaydev Unadkat both picked up two wickets and leg-spinner Adam Zampa also claimed a couple, both in the 16th over to put Kings XI out of their misery. On the other hand, Mumbai is't new to play such big games. Seeing the last few games of Rising Supergiants Pune, it has won five out of their last six matches. Batting has been quite impressive with star players performing up to their potential.

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Rahul Tripathi went without scoring when he was cleaned up by the fifth ball of the match from Mitchell McClenaghan and Lasith Malinga struck a huge blow in the next over by getting rid of Steve Smith.

In the end the chase fizzled out despite some late hitting from Jasprit Bumrah and McClenaghan.

"It's been good this year, three times we've beaten them now".

The side however will badly miss Englishman Ben Stokes, the costliest pick of the season, as he returns to national duty. He is a key member for both the franchise and India teams and will be looking to finding consistently good form for both.

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