So that is it from us for now. A lot was expected from this game but it proved to be a damp squib. We now have our four teams for the playoffs. Mumbai will host Pune for the first game on 16th May, Hyderabad and Kolkata will then battle it out at Bangalore in the Eliminator next day. The winner of the Qualifier 1 will go through to the final while the loser will battle it out with the winner of the Eliminator on 19th. Phew! We still have a game to go before it. Delhi are hosting Bangalore. Action isn't far away. Switch tabs and join us for all the updates from that game. Cheers!
Man of the Match, Jaydev Unadkat calls it a brilliant day. Mentions that they have been really good as a unit and their executions have been spot on. Reckons it is helping him personally. Informs that keeping things simple in pressure situations has been the main thing for them. Admits that Shardul Thakur was equally good tonight. Jokes that Morgan called for a run looking at a fast bowler but you cannot underestimate modern fast bowlers these days. Ends by saying that he has been working on his fielding as the Indian national side focuses on it a lot these days. Also adds that Ben Stokes is leaving tonight and he is a big loss to any team. Expects the other players to stand up and deliver.
Pune skipper, Steven Smith says that it was a nice day for them and everything went according to the plan. Informs that it was an important toss to win as the moisture was still there on the deck. Credits Shardul Thakur and Jaydev Unadkat for bowling exceptionally well. Feels that they now have a good balance in the team after a tough start initially. Applauds Stokes for performing brilliantly throughout and helping them reach the top two. Admits that they will miss Stokes but hopes that his replacement steps up for them.
Punjab skipper, Glenn Maxwell says that the toss was crucial. Calls it a damp wicket after the rain and they did not adjust well to the conditions. Rues the fact that their aggressive approach did not work for them today just like Delhi experienced against them earlier in the season. Feels that they never really recovered after the poor start and could not turn things around. On his poor luck with the tosses, he feels that the tosses matter since chasing becomes easy in the league at times. Feels good that they did not finish last and gave themselves a chance to go through. Credits the guys for fighting hard and praises Axar Patel for his all-round show. Thanks the fans for their immense support throughout the tournament.
Chasing such a score would never be a problem for a batting line-up such as Pune. Ajinkya Rahane and Rahul Tripathi started off really well. They were hardly troubled by the bowling but the latter could not see his side through. Rahane and Smith saw their side over the line without fuss.
Pune have pulled off a clinical victory and also cemented their place on the second position of the table. They now get two chances to reach the finals and will first face Mumbai in the Qualifier 1 at Wankhede. Smith will be delighted with the effort, the bowlers set it up for them when they bowled out Punjab for just 73.
Glenn Maxwell to Ajinkya Rahane
Playoff spot sealed, with a SIX! Rahane finishes things off in style! Maxwell bowls it on the stumps, Rahane comes down the track and looks to loft it straight. The bat turns in his hands but he still gets it over long on for a maximum. Punjab are knocked out as PUNE WIN BY 9 WICKETS!
Flatter on middle, Rahane turns it towards short mid-wicket.
Glenn Maxwell to Steven Smith
Flatter outside off, punched to long on for a single.
Pulls it through mid on for a single.
Rahane makes room to cut it through but gets it off the top half towards third man for a couple.
Punched through mid-wicket for a single.
Rahul Tewatia to Ajinkya Rahane
Lands it outside off, Rahane looks to defend but gets an inside edge onto his pads. Stifled appeal turned down.
Rahul Tewatia to Steven Smith
Fuller outside off, pushed wide of point for a single.
Shorter around off, punched to long on for a single.
Darts it on off, punched to long on for a run.
Flatter around off, worked towards short mid-wicket.
Flatter on middle, Smith just gets his bat down on in time and gets it to long leg for a couple.
Shorter outside off, Smith pulls it through mid on for a single.
Shorter around off, worked to wide long on for a single.