MS Dhoni, with scores of 28, 5, 11, 5, 12, required to find form in a bid to lift an ailing Pune - struggling to find consistency - in this edition of the Indian Twenty20 competition. On Saturday, Dhoni did just - by adding a 58-run stand with Manoj Tiwary, and guiding his side to a narrow last-ball win against the defending champions, Hyderabad, at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune.
Hyderabad, with four wins off seven matches, were put in to bat at the toss and their top five batsmen found runs and guided their side to a respectable 176 in their innings. Dhoni and Tiwary came together in the 17th over, following the dismissal of Ben Stokes. With the asking rate touching 14, Pune's hopes rested squarely on Dhoni, who had managed just 21 off 19 at that stage. Spinner Rashid Khan had tied Dhoni's down with an impressive 17-run effort on a flat track. With Khan out of the equation - and 47 required off 18 - Dhoni and Tiwary decided to push the tempo.
Tiwary signalled the start by flicking a length delivery from Mohammed Siraj, in the 18th, over backward square leg for four, before Dhoni hit him for a four and a six in the same over. Dhoni then tore into the best bowler of the tournament, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, in the 19th, plundering him for 17 and reducing the deficit to 11 from the 20th. Tiwary, dropped off the first ball, and Dhoni hit a boundary each and ended the chase off the last ball to complete the win. In the 3.5 overs the duo batted together, they scored at 15.13 runs an over.