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MI bowlers restrict Pune after good opening stand

MI bowlers restrict Pune after good opening stand
Table-toppers Mumbai Indians came back strongly after Rising Pune Supergiant's sound start and restricted the visitors to 160 for six in the Indian Premier League (IPL) here on Monday.

Openers Ajinkya Rahane (38 in 32 balls) and Rahul Tripathi, who top-scored with a 31-ball 45, gave the Pune innings a solid launchpad by putting on 76 runs in less than 10 overs, but once the partnership was broken Mumbai had things under control.

Captain Steve Smith made 17, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who had cracked a 34-ball 61 not out in a last-ball win two days ago, struggled in making 7 while another big-hitter, Ben Stokes, too fell for 17.

Manoj Tiwary struck a breezy 22 off 13 balls with four boundaries towards the end, but the final total appeared below par.

For Mumbai, leg spinner Karn Sharma was easily the pick with the wickets of both the openers at a crucial time, while Harbhajan Singh arrested the early run-flow to finish with fine figures of 1 for 20. Jasprit Bumrah bowled well again at the death to finish with 2 for 29.

Meanwhile, Harbhajan got to his 200th T20 wicket when he dismissed Smith in the 13th over. Rahane, not in the best of form going into the game, and Tripathi got the visitors off to an impressive start.

Rahane drove straight, played towards covers and whipped the ball to the mid-wicket region for four fours and a six during powerplay, while Tripathi tried cross-batted shots.

Tripathi easily smacked Karn, playing his first game of the season in place of the injured Krunal Pandya, for a six over long on and the duo's exuberance resulted in Supergiant racing away to 48 in the first six overs. The eighth over of the innings from Mitchell McClenaghan was very fruitful for the visiting side as 14 came off it, including three boundaries off the left-arm pacer, who had helped MI defend a small total of 142 against Delhi Daredevils just two nights ago.

At the halfway stage of the innings, Pune were comfortably placed at 84 for one.

Sharma packed off Tripathi as the batsman, who smacked two sixes and three fours, stepped out and lofted to deep extra cover for Kieron Pollard to complete a simple catch.

The bowler should have had the wicket of Smith, too, in the same over but for a dropped catch at deep square leg by Harbhajan. The Supergiant captain was on 8.

Smith, who had made 84 not out to lead Pune past the Mumbai total of 184 for eight in the first leg on April 5, struck a four off the next ball.

But the veteran off-spinner made quick amends by clean bowling Smith when he hit the top of the off stump with a ball that turned just a bit and came slower than the batsman had expected it to.

Three wickets in quick succession, between the 10th and 13th overs, pegged back Pune. Johnson cleaned up Stokes in his final over as the left-handed batsman's heave failed to connect and then Dhoni dragged an attempted pull shot off Jasprit Bumrah on to his stumps.

Pune added 40 in the last five overs and 18 in the final two.

Brief scores:
Mumbai Indians vs Rising Pune Supergiant:
Pune: 160/6 (Rahane 38, Tripathi 45).
MI: Karn Sharma 2/39, Bumrah 2/29).
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