IPL 2017: MS Dhoni smashes Sunrisers Hyderabad and critics too!
MS Dhoni scores 34-ball 61 to help Rising Pune Supergiant pull off last-ball victory over Sunrisers amidst barbs over his batting
Rising Pune Supergiant's MS Dhoni en route his match-winning 34-ball 61 against Sunrisers Hyderabad at the MCA Stadium in Pune on Saturday. Pic/PTI
Pune: There were tweets from some powerful people against him, including his own Rising Pune Supergiant team owner, Sanjeev Goenka's brother Harsh. MS Dhoni remained calm, as always.
There were 46 runs needed off the last three overs. And one of them was going to be bowled by Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, the bowler of IPL 2017 so far. Dhoni remained calm because deep inside, the game's best finisher knew this is his territory.
Irrespective of the name and the form of the bowler, this was Dhoni's game; to win or lose. And as he has often done, Dhoni won it for his side, the Rising Pune Supergiant, off the last ball to give the 20-odd thousand home crowd plenty to cheer.
Chasing 177 against Sunrisers Hyderabad, Supergiant got off to a good start, thanks to some superb hitting from local boy Rahul Tripathi. The 26-year-old's 41-ball 59 (seven fours, three sixes) led the foundation for the chase. But despite his effort, the hosts found themselves struggling for momentum, needing 56 off the last four overs. Their in-form skipper Steven Smith was back in the dug out, as were Ben Stokes and the half-century-maker Tripathi. It seemed, at that moment, like an opportunity lost. But the men out there, from either side, felt otherwise.
RPS' Rahul Tripathi during his 59 against Sunrisers in Pune on Saturday. Pic /AFP
Knew Dhoni could do it: Dhawan
"We knew they could score those runs, with Dhoni bhai still out there," Sunrisers' opener Shikhar Dhawan said after the match.
"He has done it so many times before, we knew it was possible," he added.
Dhoni himself believed too, of course. "There is no run-rate that is too high to chase," said Dhoni, adjudged Man of the Match for his unbeaten 34-ball 61.
Dhoni smashed 19 runs off Bhuvaneshwar Kumar's final over, 19th off the innings, with the hosts needing 31 from the final two.
To his credit, Siddharth Kaul did well to take the game to the last ball with 11 runs to defend. But to keep Dhoni quiet, with two runs needed off the final ball, was a task too much for this youngster. Dhoni saw the field, didn't pre-empt anything and smashed the full ball between the covers and long-off fielder to seal the win.
Henriques scores 55 not out
Earlier, Sunrisers' openers Shikhar Dhawan (30) and David Warner (43) struggled to get going in the powerplay, managing just 42 runs off the first six overs. It was only after the arrival of Moises Henriques (55*) that the innings gained some momentum.
SRH 176-3 in 20 overs (M Henriques 55*, D Warner 43, S Dhawan 30; I Tahir 1-23) lost to RPS 179-4 in 20 overs (M Dhoni 61*, R Tripathi 59, S Smith 27; R Khan 1-17) by 6 wickets