Rising Pune Supergiant marched into Indian Premier League final courtesy of a 20-run win over Mumbai Indians in the first qualifier at Wankhede Stadium. With the win over Mumbai, Pune remain unbeaten against the two-times IPL champions in this season and keep their chances of winning their maiden IPL title alive. Washington Sundar’s spell of 3/16 helped Pune restrict the hosts to 142/9.
Earlier, Pune were off to a shaky start after they lost opener Rahul Tripathi (0) and skipper Steve Smith (1). It was Ajinkya Rahane and Manoj Tiwary’s 77-run stand that brought Pune back in the game. But it was Dhoni’s masterclass in the death overs along with Manoj Tiwary skilful hitting that steered Pune’s total to 162/4.
“It’s been good this year, three times we’ve beaten them now. It was a big game. We had to be a little conservative today and we timed it well to get 160. MS was magnificent. We got the momentum we needed. You really need to peak at the right time in tournaments like this. We executed our plans really well. We tried to take the pace off the ball; it worked nicely for us throughout the tournament and today as well,” said skipper Steve Smith.
“There was a bit of dew, but it was still gripping. We executed really well to restrict them. Washington’s lengths were magnificent and it was great he did it on a big stage like this. He has done a lot for us, very proud of him,” he concluded.
Playing his maiden IPL, 17-year old Washington Sundar, is now the youngest ever player to win a Man of the Match award in IPL. After his man winning performance the off-spinner said, “It’s very heartening for me to do well against such a big team on such a big stage in front of a packed crowd. This is for my parents, their prayers are the reason I did this. Keeping it simple works for me. Right now I’m not
really open to being experimental. I just go out there and I back myself to play to my strengths. Mahi bhai has helped me a lot too,” said Sundar.
After finishing the league stage as table-toppers, Rohit Sharma-led Mumbai Indians have another chance to make it into the final of the tenth season of the IPL, as they face winner of eliminator match between Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kolkata Knight Riders in the second qualifier on May 19.
“I think 160 was below par to be honest, having seen the scores chased here. Probably the worst batting performance of this season for us,” said Rohit after Mumbai suffered a 20-run loss to Pune. We didn’t have enough partnerships, it’s crucial to get small partnerships in. They bowled well to restrict us and to take wickets in the middle overs.
Mumbai, who won the title in 2013 and 2015, will hope to make it into their fourth IPL final and win the title for the third time.
“The shot selection is very important. You need to understand the situation and the conditions and respect them. You’ve to pick the gaps and take it to the end and we didn’t do that. It’s not the end of the world, we still have one more shot in Bangalore,” Sharma concluded.