Rising Pune Supergiant’s have managed to turn their fortunes in the tenth season of IPL after getting to a shaky start. Winning eight of their last 10 games, Steve Smith-led Pune side has managed to finish second in the league stage. The nine-wicket win over Kings XI Punjab, helped them set clash with Mumbai Indians, who are vying to win their third IPL title. In a potential knock-out clash, discipline bowling guided Pune to their highest ever win in the history of the cash-rich league. It was complete domination by the seamers as they bundled out Glenn Maxwell for just 73.
“It was a nice day. The bowlers did a terrific job. We were searching a bit in the first few games. We had new players coming in, we have a good balance now. Really good to finish second and have bites at the cherry. Yeah, we have a couple of options for (Ben) Stokes. He has been magnificent and will be a big loss. Hopefully, the other guys will stand up for us,” Smith said.
Stokes, who was the costliest buy of the season, scored 316 runs in 12 games. He scored his maiden IPL hundred (103) as he rescued Pune from the jaws of defeat against the Gujarat Lions. The 25-year old all-rounder picked up 12 wickets from as many games.
“We were fortunate to win the toss, the ball was stopping. It was an easy decision today, the wicket was sticky. Shardul (Thakur) was outstanding, (Jaydev) Unadkat again was outstanding,” Pune skipper concluded.
A win could have helped Kings XI Punjab to qualify for the playoffs as their net runrate was better than off the Supergiant. Punjab’s captain Glenn Maxwell agreed with his counterpart and said that the toss toss didn’t augur well for his side in the crucial game.
“The toss had something to do with it. The wicket was damp after a few days of rain. It was just about assessing the conditions. Everything went against us and we could not recover. We have lost our last five tosses. Unfortunately in the IPL, a lot can be decided by the toss,” said Maxwell, who was out for a duck.
“We did not finish last, which was great. The way we played our last four of five games was great. Axar (Patel_ was outstanding with bat, ball, and (in) the field. We will reflect on the positives in the change room. Thanks to the fans for the support,” he concluded.
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