Halfway down the tournament, Mumbai had lost only one game and that was against Pune. The horror came into play once again where Rising Pune Supergiants once again triumphed the number one side of the tournament to remain in contention for the playoffs. Mumbai however, still remains at the top of point table, but not before breaking the undefeated streak of six straight wins.
Mumbai might have thought to dedicate today’s win to their mentor, Sachin Tendulkar, who was celebrating his 44th b’day today. They did remain in the game till the last over, but at the end, it was Pune who took the game.
Winning the toss, Mumbai Indians chose to bowl. Pune got off to a great start and their openers, Ajinkya Rahane and Rahul Tripathi added 76 in less than 10 overs. At the fall of first wicket, Pune looked in great position to post a great total, however, none of their middle order batsmen could provide support to the kind of start they had got. Though everyone except MS Dhoni played their part with little cameos, none of them could convert to a big score and that looked evident when Pune finished at 160 in 20 overs, way below the mark they were expected to reach after a solid start. Ajinkya Rahane and Rahul Tripathi scored 38 and 45 respectively. Steven Smith and Ben Stoked returned similar scored of 17 off 12. Manoj Tiwary tried to accelerate at the end with his 13 ball 22, however, there was not enough support from the other end. MS Dhoni once again struggled in the middle overs to maintain strike rate of over 100 and finished on 11 ball 7.
Mumbai had a spirited display of bowling. Harbhajan Singh led the bowling unit with figures of 1-20 in 4 overs. With the sole wicket he picked today, Harbhajan Singh also reached to 200 T20 wickets. Jasprit Bumrah and Karn Sharma picket up 2 wickets each while giving away 29 and 39 runs respectively in 4 overs. Mitchell Johnson picked 1-34 in his quota of 4 overs.
Mumbai had their usual start with Jos Buttler going after bowlers from the first ball and Parthiv Patel showing class once again. The duo added 35 runs in 4.2 overs and Mumbai seemed to cruise comfortably towards the target. Mumbai’s highest run scorer this season, Nitish Rana failed to capitalise on the good start and fell for 3 runs. Once the wickets started to fall, Rohit Sharma kept running out of partners. At the end of 16th over, Rohit Sharma and Kieron Pollard were at the crease and Mumbai needed 39 runs off 24 balls. Almost anyone could have batted for Mumbai’s win, however, Pune’s bowlers kept making this tough for Mumbai batsmen. In the last over, Mumbai needed 17 runs and Rohit Sharma sent a shiver down the spine of Pune by hitting the second ball for a six after Mumbai had lost Hardik Pandya on the first ball. Eventually, the over saw two more wickets and Pune won by 3 runs.
Ben Stokes, the biggest buy this season, was on display once again with his great bowling. He conceded just 21 runs in 4 over and picked 2 wickets. Washington Sundar, the teenage member of Pune team, was second most economical bowler with 1-26 in his 4 overs. Jayadev Unadkat picked 2 wickets in the last over, however, he went for 40 runs. Imran Tahir and Dan Christian picked up one wicket each.
Though the loss did not mean too much for Mumbai, who are comfortably placed on the top of table, it sure came as a revival for Pune. Pune now has an eye on finishing in the top 4, however, it is still half way into the league stage and tables can turn sharply.