Stokes key in snapping Mumbai’s streak


Rising Pune Supergiant 160 for 6 (Tripathi 45, Rahane 38, Bumrah 2-29, Karn 2-39) beat Mumbai Indians 157 for 8 (Rohit 58, Parthiv 33, Stokes 2-21, Unadkat 2-40) by three runs

A spell of clever pace and length variations from Ben Stokes, which included a wicket-maiden and a tight, match-turning 19th over, helped Rising Pune Supergiant halt Mumbai Indians’ six-match winning streak and complete the double against their cross-expressway rivals.

Ben Stokes of Rising Pune Supergiant celebrates the wicket of Jos Buttler of the Mumbai Indians during match 28 of the Vivo 2017 Indian Premier League between the Mumbai Indians and the Rising Pune Supergiant held at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, India on the 24th April 2017
Photo by Deepak Malik – Sportzpics – IPL

On a slower-than-usual Wankhede Stadium pitch, Rising Pune fell away after a promising start to post a middling total of 160, but managed to defend it against the season’s best chasing side. Before today, Mumbai had batted second five times and won on each occasion.

This time, they fell four short of their target, after Rohit Sharma brought them within striking distance with his first half-century of the season.

Tripathi, Rahane make bright start

Given Mumbai’s chasing record, Rohit Sharma had no hesitation in bowling first. The pitch seemed fairly typical early on, with the ball coming on nicely, and boundaries flowed frequently through and over the Powerplay fields. Rahul Tripathi and Ajinkya Rahane moved Rising Pune to 48 for 0 by the end of the Powerplay, and eventually added 76 in 9.2 overs, falling just two short of their team’s best-ever opening stand.

Karn, Harbhajan begin Mumbai comeback

An unspecified injury – Rohit did not elaborate on its nature at the toss – had ruled Krunal Pandya out, and in his place Mumbai played an almost like-for-like replacement, the legspinning allrounder Karn Sharma. Karn’s first two overs – both bowled in the Powerplay – went for 17, but in his third over he got a googly to rear up at Rahane, who offered up a simple return catch. In his next over, Tripathi holed out to long-off, failing to reach the pitch of a legbreak.

Harbhajan Singh, meanwhile, had bowled three overs at the other end without conceding a boundary. In his fourth, he gave Mumbai their most yearned-for breakthrough. Steven Smith, failing to spot a drop in pace from the offspinner, played all around him and became his 200th T20 victim.

Mumbai’s fast bowlers used the slower one just as well; like Smith, Stokes and MS Dhoni were also bowled playing across the line. Apart from a 13-ball 22 from Manoj Tiwary, there was no middle- or lower-order spark from Pune, and they eventually only managed 60 in their last eight overs.

Karthik Krishnaswamy is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo


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