Pune rise above Kings XI into IPL finals

Pune rise above Kings XI into IPL finals

Pune rise above Kings XI into IPL finals

Pune, already without their mainstay Ben Stokes and Imran Tahir - both out on worldwide duty - looked to Ajinkya Rahane and Manoj Tiwary for stability. So, they will play today only to win.

Mumbai Indians (20 points), Rising Pune Supergiant (18 points), Sunrisers Hyderabad (17 points) and Kolkata Knight Riders (16 points) have emerged as the top four teams.

Patel lacked support and any chance of a Mumbai victory was all but over when he holed out to Thakur, who finished with figures of 3-37 as Pune marched into what will be Dhoni's milestone final. Manoj Tiwary, MS Dhoni, Rahul Tripathi and Dan Christian are some important players of the team.

For Pune, off-spinner Washington Sundar did maximum damage, dismissing Rohit Sharma, Ambati Rayudu and Kieron Pollard in two overs to break Mumbai's batting backbone.

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Rising Pune may have felt they were short of a par score at the mid-innings break, but they had one significant aspect going for them: a two-paced Wankhede surface.

Pune knocked out Kings XI Punjab by nine wickets in last league game at home. The par score is in the 170s and chasing has been an advantage with dew making it hard for bowlers to grip the ball. Probably the worst batting performance of this season for us. Stokes, the costliest player of this IPL edition, has flown back for national duty after scoring 316 runs from 12 games. Saha played one (good) innings, Manan Vohra played one innings but apart from that none of the others played responsibly. Lasith Malinga ironically bowled only three overs for just 14 runs for the wicket of Smith (1). Seeing the last few games of Rising Supergiants Pune, it has won five out of their last six matches. Mahendra Singh Dhoni changed gears in the last 12 balls, hitting four sixes, and, along with Tiwary, getting 41 runs for the team in the two overs. Rohit Sharma was undone by another howler, given out lbw despite a thick inside edge. Marsh who was looking good after hitting a couple of boundaries tried to go for a big hit but could go only as far as Steve Smith at midoff. "Hopefully we can be the better team on the final".

If Khawaja plays, then RPS will go with the same bowling unit that has done so well in recent times, but if Ferguson is brought in, it could mean either Washington Sundar or Shardul Thakur, who took three wickets in the win over KXIP, sitting out. Rising Supergiants Pune will obviously miss the presence of Ben Stokes.

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