MS Dhoni saved his best for the last this time around; as an unbelievable show from captain cool saw the Rising Pune Supergiants steal the game on the very last ball. Dhoni batted like his good old self where he demolished all bowlers and got his side past the line with his extraordinary show. With 23 needed off the last over, and eventually needing 12 off 2 balls, Dhoni hit spinner Axar Patel for two biggies, to finish the game off.
Earlier, the Kings XI won the toss and batted first. Skipper M. Vijay once again made a wonderful half century and led from the front. Vijay was well supported by Gurkeerat Mann, who also hit a half-century to propel the Kings XI to 172-7. Pune seemed down and out at one stage, but Dhoni’s icy cool 64* off 32 deliveries guided the Supergiants home.
In the post-match presentation, Dhoni admitted that it was a fantastic game indeed. “It was a fantastic game. This is the game we wanted to win and get into the knockouts – but that was not the case. We were never outplayed and that’s the reason our run rate is not so bad, despite losing so many games. With other players coming in, next season will be different. If you see our selection, we were worried in our bowling. When we got wickets with the new ball, spinners have done well. So picking up wickets early is important for us,” said Dhoni.
Reflecting on an otherwise disappointing season for Pune, Dhoni said, “There were glimpses of the talent in the team and we don’t have the luxury of bench strength. People will come with new plans against bowlers and batsmen, and you have to adapt. This year, IPL had the best kind of wickets. On the flatter side, but the bowlers could restrict them to 160-170. We got good support here but it was tough for us, and we had to get used to the new conditions, although the record at Pune wasn’t good.”