Rising Pune Supergiant 179 for 4 (Dhoni 61*, Tripathi 59, Rashid 1-17) beat Sunrisers Hyderabad 176 for 3 (Henriques 55*, Christian 1-20) by 6 wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
The finisher is not finished yet. MS Dhoni struck a 34-ball 61 to help clean up some of the mess he himself created as Rising Pune Supergiant chased down 177 with a last-ball boundary. Dhoni's slow start of 26 off 23 balls had converted an equation of 90 off 55 into 47 off 18, but he took out the best bowler of the tournament, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, in an almighty assault of 35 runs off his last 11 balls to seal the win.
Before Saturday, Sunrisers Hyderabad had lost only two of the 12 matches in which they made 175 or more. On Saturday, though, they huffed and puffed on a flat pitch, without the services of Ashish Nehra and Mustafizur Rahman, but it wasn't enough. The fielding didn't help - they dropped Rahul Tripathi on 17, who then made 59, Manoj Tiwary too was given a life in a tense final. That Sunrisers had something to bowl at was thanks to Moises Henriques' 28-ball 55. This loss was as much because of their fielding as their batting before Henriques.
Shikhar Dhawan and David Warner are the two slowest openers of this season. They are also the slowest partnership, and as a result, their side has been the second-slowest in Powerplays. While Dhawan's strike rate of 118 is more in keeping with his career stats, Warner struggled uncharacteristically as Sunrisers crawled to 55 for 1 in 8.1 overs, with Dhawan top-edging the first ball Imran Tahir bowled.
Kane Williamson took risks to try to correct the rate, and was lbw to Dan Christian after walking too far across. Christian's miserly spell continued, going for just 20 in four overs, as Sunrisers, the best side in the middle overs this year, managed only 68 runs between the sixth and the 15th to be reduced to 113 for 2.
Even as Warner failed to convert a slow start, Henriques unleashed his array of strokes, mostly over midwicket or through point. He scored 34 runs off the last 14 balls he faced as Rising Pune lived up to their reputation of being the worst side at the death, conceding 63 off the last 30 balls, which is worse than their tournament average so far.
Bipul and Rashid v Tripathi and Smith
Bipul Sharma replaced the unwell Yuvraj Singh in the Sunrisers XI. He had bowled only 21 overs in his last 10 matches for them, but in Pune he took the new ball and shackled the openers. He bowled nothing in their swinging arc, and gave them no pace to work with. Ajinkya Rahane fell prey to him, but Tripathi managed to find a way around him, hitting the quicks away, especially Mohammed Siraj, off whose bowling he was dropped, and Siddarth Kaul. Against spin he scored 17 off 18, and against pace he managed 42 off 23.
At the other end, Smith too struggled with the lack of pace from Bipul, but finally in the 10th over, Bipul's last, he delayed his bat swing and slogged him for back-to-back sixes. That rearranged the left-arm spinner's figures to 4-0-30-1 and brought the asking rate down to 9.4.
Just before that, Rashid Khan did something not many can claim to have done: he bowled a wrong'un that Smith didn't pick and beat the batsman comprehensively. Now perhaps in the 11th over Smith picked it, or perhaps he read it off the hand, but he went back to cut, and inside-edged the googly onto his pad and then onto the stumps. Smith was livid with himself as he walked off. Out walked Dhoni, his strike rate under 100 this season, and ahead of Ben Stokes, Manoj Tiwary and Christian.
The Dhoni show
Ever since Dhoni's last-ball win for Pune against Kings XI Punjab last year, no chasing side had won a match off the last ball in the IPL. Surely Dhoni didn't want to take this to the last ball but he can't help himself, can he? At the presentation, he said he wanted to see Rashid off without further damage because the ground was small and the asking rate could be managed. But as well as he prodded and nudged, Rashid struck with his electric fielding to run Tripathi out off his own bowling.
Rashid was done, with 17 runs off his four overs, and the required rate was above 12 for the last six overs, but Dhoni still struggled to find his range. Siraj, bowling the 16th over, tied him and Stokes down with yorkers, and even beat Dhoni for pace. Dhoni 21 off 19, and 56 required off four overs.
On came Bhuvneshwar, for overs 17 and 19, and removed Stokes with the first ball he bowled, and the equation went up to 47 off 18. Dhoni now picked on the rookie Siraj, dropping a slower ball over long-on and upper-cutting a slower bouncer over point. With 30 required off two, Dhoni still needed to take another bowler down, and he couldn't have left it for the last over.
Bhuvneshwar, Dhoni's favourite bowler when he was India captain, had not conceded 10 runs in any of his death overs this IPL. But Dhoni got stuck into his protégé as Bhuvneshwar kept missing his line or length by inches. A border-line wide first up, followed by a squirt for a four to leg, then a lofted drive over point, and finally the helicopter shot that sent everyone into frenzy.
There were now only 10 runs to defend and youngster Kaul was given the last over. He should have had Manoj Tiwary, who had done his job so far, caught first ball. What looked like a six had got caught up in the wind, but the fielder Rashid couldn't control it inside the midwicket boundary. Kaul followed it up with four really good deliveries to bring it to two required off the last over. He continued what he had been doing - yorkers from round the wicket - but missed his length, and Dhoni drove him through extra cover for four.