Hardik Pandya's five-straight boundaries in the last over against Pune guided Mumbai to a sizeable 184 runs and handed their bowlers the momentum and cushion required to defend a respectable total against a strong Pune batting line-up playing their first match of the Indian Twenty20 competition on Thursday.
Steven Smith and Ajinkya Rahane, Pune's mainstays with the bat, though were in no mood to handover the advantage to their neighbours. Rahane made is intentions clear at the onset and thumped four fours and a six in the first three overs he faced. Mayank Agarwal's departure in the fourth over didn't affect the tempo as Smith cashed in on wayward bowling from the opposition seamers.
The duo together targeted Mitchell McClenaghan in the sixth over, with Smith shovelling the first delivery to the boundary and then Rahane smashing a six and a four in the same over. The onslaught helped Rahane race to 41, his highest score in a Powerplay in the tournament. By the sixth over, Pune had managed 59 but were still 126 runs adrift.
Rahane reached is 50, shortly after, with a pull over the deep backward square leg boundary. Krunal Pandya finally broke the stand by dismissing him for a 29-ball 52. The Rahane-Smith combine added 58 runs for the second wicket in the seven overs they batted together. When Rahane fell the duo were scoring at 9.11 runs an over, just shy of required rate of 9.36. Smith carried his bat through the innings, with a 54-ball 84, and with cameos from Ben Stokes and MS Dhoni, ensured his team got home with a ball to spare.