MS Dhoni © AFP
MS Dhoni © AFP

A MS Dhoni-show in Rising Pune Supergiants’ final match helped them bow out of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2016 in style, with a superb win by four wickets over Kings XI Punjab (KXIP). Dhoni remained unbeaten on 64 off 32 as he anchored RPS’ chase of 173 on the last ball of the match. After this match, it is Punjab who have finished last on the points table of the IPL 2016, below RPS who have finished with 10 points after five wins from 14 matches. RPS needed 23 runs in the final over and Punjab skipper Murali Vijay gave the over to the spinner Akshar Patel. After a dot and wide off the first two deliveries, Dhoni went all runs blazing with two sixes and a four in the next four balls. The wicket -takers for Punjab were Patel, Sandeep Sharma, Gurkeerat Singh Rishi Dhawan and Mohit Sharma. Full Cricket Scorecard: Rising Pune Supergiants  vs  Kings XI Punjab , Live Score, 53rd T20 Match, IPL 2016

Ajinkya Rahane had a slow start, got off the mark with a single towards the third man before going for a boundary two balls later off Sandeep Sharma’s bowling. It was a poor ball from Sandeep and Rahane plainly punished it by drifting it down the leg. Rahane went after all the pacers of Punjab, Mohit Sharma, Sandeep and Kyle Abbott before Sandeep did the job for his skipper when he removed Rahane which indeed was a crucial breakthrough. Rahane’s 15-ball 19 that was inclusive of four boundaries came to an end in the fifth over.

More than Sandeep, the wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha must be credited for Rahane’s wicket. It was his superb dive towards his left to complete an excellent catch, which left Pune at 35 for 1, needing another 138 runs with nine wickets to spare. If one power hitter walked back, another one came in. It was Punjab’s former captain George Bailey who joined countryman Usman Khawaja out in the middle.

It was a typical start from the Australian as he took time to settle down. After five dot deliveries, Bailey got off the mark with a boundary towards the extra cover. It was a beautiful shot as Bailey came down the track and lofted it as the ball bounced a twice before crossing the ropes. Mohit seemed to have not learnt from his mistake, another poor ball, same result from Bailey—the batsman makes good use of the wrist to clear the mid-on ropes.

It was some spin time as Punjab handed the ball to their go-to bowler Akshar Patel. He once again made the breakthrough in his very first over by getting the in-song Bailey out. It was another dismissal that involved brilliant work from Saha behind the wickets. In an attempt to drive, Bailey dragged his feat way too outside the crease and Saha had all the time complete a stumping. That wicket left Pune at 47 for 2 as they needed another 126 off 13 overs.

Patel’s success in the previous over forced Vijay to bring in more spin which saw Gurkeerat Singh come into action. After a decent first over which he gave away just five runs, he made a double breakthrough in his second when he sent back Saurabh Tiwary and Usman Khawaja in the 12th over. The flight had been doing the trick as the batsmen were getting carried away with it. After Saha, it was Tiwary threw away his wicket by coming in front. While attempting to drift it to the long on, a running low catch from Farhan Behardien left Pune 78 for 3. Two balls later a sweep shot from Khawaja became an easy catch fro David Miller at deep midwicket.

Earlier, Punjab skipper Vijay won the toss and had opted to bat. While RPS went unchanged, Punjab made one change with bringing in Rishi Dhawan for KC Cariappa. Half-centuries from Vijay and Gurkeerat powered Punjab to 172 in 20 overs.

Brief scores:

Kings XI Punjab 172 for 7 (Murali Vijay 59, Gurkeerat Singh 51; Ravi Ashwin 4 for 34) lost to Rising Pune Supergiants 173 for 6 (MS Dhoni 64*; Gurkeerat Singh 2 for 15) by 4 wickets.

Player of the Match: MS Dhoni

Full Scorecard

(Sakshi Gupta, a reporter with CricketCountry, is a sports fanatic whose mantra in life is “do only what you enjoy.” Her Twitter handle is @sakshi2929)