Dhoni Lives up to His Legacy, Leads Rising Pune to a Thrilling 6-wicket Win Over Sunrisers

Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) suffered their third straight away defeat in as many matches and MS Dhoni lived up to his legacy of being one of the better finishers this sport has ever seen, in the 24th match of IPL 2017. Having been set 177 for victory, Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) reached the target on the last ball of the match—with two runs required—as Dhoni struck an inside-out four off Siddarth Kaul to seal a second consecutive win for his team.

The former Indian captain walked into bat with plenty of balls (55) to spare. So, although Rising Pune were in pursuit of a highly competitive target and needed 90 runs when Dhoni replaced Steve Smith, the veteran batsman-wicketkeeper was able to play in his style: take a few balls to settle in, get into his groove, transfer the pressure onto the bowling side, and then feed off the pressure felt by the bowlers.

For a while, Dhoni looked like he might fail to win the match for Pune. Lately, the talisman of Indian Cricket has not tasted success in situations like the one he found himself in on Saturday evening. Pune had scored 83 and lost just the wicket of Rahane in the first 10 overs. But they scored only 32 runs off the next five overs and lost the wickets of Rahul Tripathi and Smith, to really have their backs to the wall ahead of the final quarter of their innings.

Not until the 18th over, which was bowled by Mohammed Siraj, did Dhoni find his rhythm and start to play the big shots. 47 were required off the last three overs, and Dhoni had to make a move. 17 runs came off the 18th over, with Dhoni scoring 11 of those. He was on strike at the start of the 19th over, which was unsurprisingly to be bowled by the purple cap holder Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Even for a bowler as confident as Bhuvneshwar is at the moment and with the repertoire he possesses, this was a litmus test of his credentials. And Dhoni, gave the UP seamer a reality check.

Here’s how the 19th over went: wide, 4, 4, 6, 1, 1, and 2. 19 runs were scored and the maximum damage was done on the first three balls by Dhoni, who struck Bhuvneshwar for three boundaries and made the equation a considerably easier one for Pune Supergiant.

The hard work had been done in the 19th over and the best bowler of the league was out of the way. 11 runs were required off six balls and no doubt who the favourite was. Siddarth Kaul bowled a good over, and might well have defended what he had to (10) if not for a dropped catch by Rashid Khan at deep mid-wicket. Manoj Tiwary was dropped on the first ball of the final over, and to make matters worse for the visitors, the ball trickled onto the boundary rope as well.

7 runs to score off 5 balls should have been a walk in the park for Pune, but Kaul bowled his heart out and hit the blockhole on the next four balls, from which only five runs were scored. RPS needed two runs off the last ball, and Kaul pitched the ball in Dhoni’s arc. Dhoni played a really good shot to find the gap between the cover fielder inside the ring and long off. Dhoni had played a knock of this kind after a long, long time and most importantly, finished on the right side of the result. RPS won by six wickets and this victory was very similar to their first win of this season, against Mumbai Indians, at home too.

Tripathi had played a great knock at the top of the order for RPS, scoring 59 off 41 balls and once again providing an ideal start for his team. Rashid Khan, after a couple of disappointing bowling performances, found his rhythm on this evening and troubled one of the accomplished batsmen of the modern times, Steve Smith, who he dismissed with a googly. The Afghan leg-spinner also contributed on the field by running out Tripathi with a direct hit.

Earlier in the evening, Sunrisers, who had been asked to bat after losing the toss, got off to a slow and an uncharacteristic start with David Warner and Shikhar Dhawan. The Sunrisers’s innings didn’t get going until Moises Henriques strode out to the middle in the 13th over. Henriques was not the anchor here and instead played an aggressive 28-ball 55, to help his team reach a competitive total. Deepak Hooda, at No. 5, played a crucial cameo as well.

Jaydev Unadkat and Shardul Thakur, who had played an integral role in RPS’s win over Royal Challengers Bangalore, bowled naively at the death, and Henriques and Hooda cashed in on some docile bowling from the Pune seamers.

For Sunrisers, a match that was within their grasp was stolen away. And in a very evenly-contested match, Pune Supergiant showed what they are capable of by chasing down a stiff target. By way of this win, Supergiant moved up to fourth place on the IPL 2017 points table.

Rising Pune vs Sunrisers, 24th Match Scorecard

Playing XIs

RPS: 1. Steve Smith, 2. Ajinkya Rahane, 3. Rahul Tripathi, 4. Ben Stokes, 5. MS Dhoni (wk), 6. Manoj Tiwary, 7. Daniel Christian, 8. Shardul Thakur, 9. Imran Tahir, 10. Jaydev Unadkat, and 11. Washington Sundar

SRH: 1. David Warner (c), 2. Shikhar Dhawan, 3. Kane Williamson, 4. Bipul Sharma, 5. Moises Henriques, 6. Deepak Hooda, 7. Naman Ojha (wk), 8. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 9. Rashid Khan, 10. Mohammed Siraj, and 11. Siddarth Kaul

Scores

Sunrisers: 176/3 (Henriques 55* and Warner 43; Christian 1/20)
Supergiant: 179/4 (Dhoni 61* and Tripathi 59; Rashid 1/17)

Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) Innings (toss: Pune, who chose to bowl first)
Batsman Dismissal Runs scored No. of 4s No. of 6s Strike rate
David Warner bowled Unadkat 43 (40) 3 1 107.50
Shikhar Dhawan caught Tripathi, bowled Tahir 30 (29) 5 0 103.44
Kane Williamson leg before wicket Christian 21 (14) 1 1 150.00
Moises Henriques not out 55 (28) 6 2 196.42
Deepak Hooda not out 19 (10) 2 1 190.00
Batsmen who didn’t bat: Naman Ojha, Bipul Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Rashid Khan, Mohammed Siraj, and Siddarth Kaul
Extras: 8 (1 no-ball, 3 wides and 4 leg byes)
SRH’s total: 176/3 in 20 overs, at 8.80 runs per over
SRH’s fall of wickets: 55/1 (S Dhawan, 8.1), 84/2 (Williamson, 12.3) and 129/3 (Warner, 16.3)
Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) Bowling
Bowlers Overs Dots bowled Runs conceded Wickets taken Economy rate
Jaydev Unadkat 4 7 41 1 10.25
Washington Sundar 3 7 19 0 6.34
Ben Stokes 2 4 19 0 9.50
Shardul Thakur 4 4 50 0 12.50
Daniel Christian 4 11 20 1 5.00
Imran Tahir 3 5 23 1 7.67
Pune Innings (target: 177 runs in 20 overs, at 8.85 runs per over)
Batsman Dismissal Runs scored No. of 4s No. of 6s Strike rate
Ajinkya Rahane caught Kaul, bowled Bipul 2 (7) 0 0 28.57
Rahul Tripathi run out Rashid 59 (41) 6 3 143.90
Steve Smith bowled Rashid 27 (21) 1 2 128.57
MS Dhoni not out 61 (34) 5 3 179.41
Ben Stokes caught Shankar (sub), bowled Bhuvneshwar 10 (9) 1 0 111.11
Manoj Tiwary not out 17 (8) 3 0 212.50
Batsmen who didn’t bat: Daniel Christian, Washington Sundar, Imran Tahir, Shardul Thakur, and Jaydev Unadkat
Extras: 3 (1 wide and 2 leg byes)
RPS’s total: 179/4 in 20 overs, at 8.95 runs per over
RPS’s fall of wickets: 15/1 (Rahane, 3.1), 87/2 (S Smith, 10.5), 98/3 (Tripathi, 13.1), and 121/4 (Stokes, 16.1)
Hyderabad Bowling
Bowlers Overs Dots bowled Runs conceded Wickets taken Economy rate
Bhuvneshwar Kumar 4 9 39 1 9.75
Bipul Sharma 4 10 30 1 7.50
Mohammed Siraj 4 6 42 0 10.50
Siddarth Kaul 3 1 45 0 15.00
Rashid Khan 4 10 17 1 4.25
Moises Henriques 1 2 4 0 4.00

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