Kings XI Punjab 164 for 4 (Maxwell 44*, Tahir 2-29) beat Rising Pune Supergiant 163 for 6 (Stokes 50, Tiwary 41, Sandeep 2-33) by six wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Rising Pune Supergiant have tried for eight matches and have yet to win an IPL match batting first. Glenn Maxwell, meanwhile, nailed 44 unbeaten runs off 20 balls and made sure his senior-team captaincy debut would forever be a happy memory.
Kings XI Punjab owed their six-wicket win to their bowlers though. They were so good that an outstanding fifth-wicket partnership between Ben Stokes and Manoj Tiwary - 61 runs off 37 balls with only two dots - ended up in vain.
The Kings XI strangle
Eight out of the 20 overs they bowled yielded five runs or less. It began with Sandeep Sharma bowling Mayank Agarwal, who fell in the Powerplay for the 28th time in 39 IPL innings.
That forced Ajinkya Rahane and Steven Smith into rebuild mode - Rising Pune had been 7 for 1 after three overs - on a two-paced pitch where the new ball seemed to skid and bounce and the old one stopped on the batsman. Smith, the current captain, was dismissed with a strike-rate below 100 to one that jumped up at him. MS Dhoni, the former captain, was dismissed with a strike-rate below 50, to one that came off the pitch slower than he expected.
The Rising Pune saviours, almost
In an innings 32 deliveries long, Stokes let only four become dots. Power-hitters can sometimes get caught up in just hitting the ball hard, but Stokes understood the risk of Rising Pune losing him too with a majority of the overs still left. He played the percentages well, feeding his knock with 22 singles and picked the left-arm spinners to hit. Stokes bashed 32 runs off 18 balls off Axar Patel and Swapnil Singh.
In an innings 23 deliveries long, Tiwary let only two become dots. His strike-rate of 173.91 was his best under condition of more than 15 balls faced. There were gorgeous inside-out shots over cover and point, highlighting a still base, and a straight six in the 19th over, when Stokes had fallen, highlighting his ability for the crunch moments.
Tahir against the world
The fact that Imran Tahir has great accuracy, and a googly not too many people pick, is apparent from the fact he has bowled batsmen, or pinned them lbw, to get 43 of his 176 T20 wickets. He was Rising Pune's biggest threat with the ball and he showed it for three overs, picking up two wickets and conceding only 14 runs. Saha's stumps were broken and pinch-hitter Axar Patel was caught and bowled.
Tahir's final over, saved for the end, was smashed for 14 runs as Maxwell capitalised sent a couple of short balls soaring over the rope. Maxwell had begun the charge to victory in the previous over off Stokes. The equation had been 48 off 30 balls when the England allrounder came on. A short delivery was belted wide of the sweeper cover with great power and a full delivery was launched over mid-off for six, establishing Maxwell's game awareness.