Big players fire when it matters the most. Mahendra Singh Dhoni's killer blows for Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) on Tuesday against Mumbai Indians (MI) in the Qualifier 1 of the Indian Premier League (IPL) outlined what this big match player can do to the opposition. RPS were tottering at one stage with skipper Steve Smith and Rahul Tripathi leaving the field early. Ajinkya Rahane with Manoj Tiwary steadied the ship for Pune but it was Dhoni's lusty blows in the last 2 overs that made the difference in the end. On a slow and low pitch, Pune hit 41 runs off the last 12 balls that helped them score 163 against the two-time champions.
On MI's home ground, Dhoni was greeted with loud cheers from the crowd. As he went after the Mumbai bowlers, chants of 'Dhoni Dhoni' reverberated. Each and every run that came off his bat was applauded by the crowd.
It reached a crescendo when he tonked 2 sixes off Jasprit Bumrah in the last over.
I want to say something about that Dhoni innings. But honestly, can any words do it justice???— Gaurav Kapur (@gauravkapur) May 16, 2017
Though the former India skipper looked a bit rusty in the beginning with just 14 runs from 18 balls, he smashed Mitchell McClenaghan and Bumrah for two maximums each to score 40 not-out off 26 balls, that helped RPS set 163-run target for MI.
Once a FREAK always a FREAK! MS Dhoni on— Michael Clarke (@MClarke23) May 16, 2017
The risk that Dhoni takes in taking it till d end &exploding in d last few balls&consistently succeeding in this model is incredible#MIvRPS— Mohammad Kaif (@MohammadKaif) May 16, 2017
He is not as consistently brilliant as he used to be but Dhoni keeps reminding us that the brilliance is still very much intact.— Sanjay Manjrekar (@sanjaymanjrekar) May 16, 2017
Mumbai started off well chasing a competitive target but fell short by 20 runs in the chase.
It was Pune's third win over Mumbai in as many games this season, providing them with an opportunity to win the coveted trophy in only their second season.