Dhoni dazzles as Pune beat Sunrisers by 6 wkts
Former India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni's late order blitzkrieg guided Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) to a thrilling six wicket win over Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in a last ball thriller Indian Premier League (IPL) 2017 contest at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium here on Saturday.
With 47 needed off the last three overs, the situation was tailor made for one of the best finishers in world cricket, and Dhoni (61 not out from 34 balls), started in his usual fashion taking time to settle down before unleashing his power against the likes of Mohammed Siraj and Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
In the 18th over, the Ranchi stumper dispatched Siraj for a flat six over long-on before helping the ball over point and short third man for a four the next ball to milk 17 runs from the over.
The penultimate over witnessed a vintage Dhoni smashing two consecutive boundaries before using his bottom hand to launch Bhuvneshwar for a powerful six over long-on to reach his half century and leave Pune needing 11 from the final over.
The final over had medium pacer Siddharth Kaul going for a six in the very first ball from Manoj Tiwary (17 not out) before Dhoni finished off in style with a boundary through extra cover. Dhoni's match-winning knock was laced with five hits to the fence and three over it.
Chasing a stiff 177, Pune were off to a dismal start losing Ajinkya Rahane (2) in the fourth over before opener Rahul Tripathi (59) and skipper Steve Smith (27) rescued them with a 72-run second wicket stand in quick time.
Tripathi made full use of the life he got on 17 when Bipul Sharma put down a tough chance off medium pacer Mohammed Siraj's first ball of the match.
The 26-year-old immediately smacked Siraj out of the park the next ball before taking Siddharth Kaul to the cleaners twice in the next over as he got his half century in just 32 balls.
Smith at the other end, dispatched Bipul for two consecutive sixes as Pune looked on course before Afghanistan's teenaged leg-spinner Rashid Khan packed back the Australian after facing 21 balls with a googly knocking his off stump.
Two overs later, Tripathi, who by now had faced 41 balls and struck six boundaries and three huge sixes, was brilliantly ran out by a direct throw from Rashid, reducing the hosts to 98/3.
With 62 needed off the last five overs, the stage was set for former skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and English all-rounder Ben Stokes (10) to press the accelerator.
Rising Pune Supergiant vs Sunrisers Hyderabad:
SRH: 176/3 (Moises Henriques 55, David Warner 43, Rashid Khan 1/17).
RSP: 179/4 (MS Dhoni 61, Rahul Tripathi 59, Daniel Christian 1/20). Agencies