- Rising Pune Supergiant turned around their IPL 10 campaign in memorable manner
- They entered Qualifier 1 after finishing second in the points table
- They won 9 and lost 5 matches in the league stage and then beat MI in the play-offs to enter final
NEW DELHI: Putting behind them a disappointing maiden season last year – they finished seventh – Steven Smith‘s Rising Pune Supergiant turned around their IPL 2017 campaign in memorable manner, storming into second spot with a thumping win over Kings XI Punjab in their final league match, which was a virtual quarter-final. Without the extremely vital overseas pair of Ben Stokes and Imran Tahir in the first qualifier, they still overcame Mumbai Indians for the third time this season to progress to the IPL final.
Here’s how RPS made it this far.
v MI in Pune – Won by 7 wickets
A narrow win which came down to the penultimate ball of the game. Conceding 36 runs off the last seven deliveries of Mumbai Indians’ innings left RPS a target of 185, which was overhauled thanks to Ajinkya Rahane’s 34-ball 60 and skipper Steven Smith’s unbeaten 84 off 54 balls.
v KXIP in Indore – Lost by 6 wickets
After a shaky start, RPS were lifted to 163/6 by Ben Stokes’ 32-ball 50 and an unbeaten 40 off 23 from Manoj Tiwary. However, KXIP smoothed over Imran Tahir’s double-strike to win with an over to spare with Glenn Maxwell hitting an unbeaten 44 from 20 balls and David Miller a calmer 30 from 27.
v DD in Pune – Lost by 97 runs
A huge defeat. Struggling to figure out what bowling attack to use, RPS were stung by Sanju Samson’s maiden T20 century and Chris Morris’ outrageous assault at the death, which saw him hit 38 in seven balls. That put Delhi Daredevils in charge with a total of 205/4, and the home team fizzled out for 108 in 16.1 overs with no batsman crossing 20.
v GL in Rajkot – Lost by 7 wickets
Propped up to 171/8 by a series of middling efforts, RPS would have backed themselves to rebound but instead had the ground shifted from beneath their feet. Andrew Tye, in his first IPL match, snuffed them out with a hat-trick in his spectacular 5/17. With this loss, RPS were staring at early elimination.
v RCB in Bangalore – Won by 27 runs
This win, when RPS look back at their season, could be the one that the team chuckles at. For RCB truly chocked here. In the end, the result margin of 27 runs owed heavily to Tiwary’s 27 off 11 balls, which featured some clinical hitting at the death. Then it was over to a combination of Jaydev Unadkat (2/25), Shardul Thakur (3/35) and Stokes (3/18) as RCB were kept to 134/9 on a slow pitch. This victory turned around RPS’ campaign.
v SRH in Pune – Won by 6 wickets
Victory off the final ball of the game, with an MS Dhoni special to roll back the years. The target for RPS was 177, and leading them after another failure from Rahane was the unheralded Rahul Tripathy (59) before Dhoni’s calm completed the chase. The former India and RPS captain clubbed 61 off 34 balls, with Tiwary unbeaten on 17 off eight balls.
v MI in Mumbai – Won by 3 runs
Another win over their Maharashtra rivals, this won also by a narrow margin. Chasing 161, Mumbai never found strong partnerships, and once Nitish Rana departed the lower order had a rare off day. Mumbai finished on 157/8, with Stokes bowling superbly with a wicket-maiden fifth over and a match-turning 19th.
v KKR in Pune – Lost by 7 wickets
After a hat-trick of wins, Pune were set back by two-time IPL winners KKR who chased 183 with relative ease. Gautam Gambhir made a calm 62 while Robin Uthappa hit 87 off 47 balls.
v RCB in Mumbai Pune – Won by 61 runs
RPS bounced back by crushing RCB, successfully defending 157/3 on the basis of excellent bowling by New Zealand import Lockie Ferguson (2/7), Unadkat (1/19) and Tahir (3/18). Ferguson, replacing the injured Stokes, was Man of the Match for his outstanding four-over spell of serious pace.
v GL in Pune – Won by 5 wickets
Stokes marked his return to the playing XI with a maiden T20 century, 103 not out off 63 balls to deliver a final-over win over Gujarat Lions after RPS had slumped to 10/3. It truly was an exceptional hundred from the England allrounder, who hit seven fours and six sixes to justify his Rs 14.5 crore price tag with his third Man-of-the-Match award – the only player this season to achieve that.
v KKR in Kolkata – Won by 4 wickets
A remarkable innings from Tripathi took RPS to third on the points table, while sending KKR down the order. In pursuit of 156, Tripathi took the attack to KKR’s well-rounded bowling attack with 93 off 52 balls, lit up by nine fours and seven sixes, in a stunning assault. Around him was a series of aborted innings, with no other batsman scoring more than Stokes’ 14.
The pieces of RPS’ campaign continued to fall into place with this win, which pushed the defending champions down the points table. Starring were Unadkat and Stokes, the former with the first of two Man-of-the-Match performances – a career-best 5/30 highlighted by a hat-trick in a maiden last over. Stokes’ contribution was 39 off 25 balls – the highest score of Pune’s innings – three wickets and two catches.
v DD in Delhi – Lost by 7 runs
The eliminated Daredevils pipped RPS to leave them sweating on a play-off berth, successfully defending a total of 168 at the Kotla. Rahane’s poor tournament continued with a golden duck, Tripathi had an off day, Smith and Stokes were cut off in the thirties and only Tiwary, with 60, offered a threat to Delhi. The match went down to the wire, but Tiwary was unable to find the boundaries at the end. After the loss, he took “complete blame” for not finishing the job.
v KXIP in Pune – Won by 9 wickets
In a virtual quarter-final, RPS avenged their earlier loss to KXIP with an absolute hammering that confirmed them as No 2 on the points table. Unadkat started the match by dismissing Martin Guptill first ball, effected a direct hit run-out, took a fine tumbling catch at short fine leg and finished with 2/12 to help bundle out KXIP for 73, which is their lowest total in the IPL.
Having been asked to bat, RPS were carried by Rahane’s 56 off 43 balls after the innings lurched to 9/2 inside two overs, but it was the alliance between Tiwary (58 off 48) and Dhoni (40* off 26) that really hurt Mumbai. The last two overs produced 41 as Dhoni struck five sixes, each shot giving Pune’s fans reason to cheer. Then it was over to Washington Sundar, who produced his best performance of the season in reducing Mumbai’s strong batting order to 51/4. Parthiv Patel’s 52 kept the hosts in the hunt, but once he was dismissed by Thakur (3/37) in the 15th over the chase became too much. This was RPS’ third win in a row over Mumbai, putting them into the final.