Skipper Rohit Sharma continued to lead by example as a thoroughly professional Mumbai Indians outclassed Pune Supergiants by eight wickets in an Indian Premier League encounter, here tonight.
It was brilliant bowling at the backend by Jasprit Bumrah (3/29) and Harbhajan Singh (1/25) that saw MI restrict Supergiants to an unimpressive 159 for five with burly Saurabh Tiwary’s slow 57 off 45 balls being the reason for team’s defeat.
A below-par score was never going to pose any problems for the defending champions who surpassed the target in only 18.3 overs with skipper Rohit smashing an ubeaten 85 off 60 balls.
En route his fifth half-century in 9 games, Rohit hit eight boundaries and three sixes. The sixes were hit effortlessly in the mid-wicket region with last one ending the match. Rohit is now second in run-getters list with 383 runs in nine games and three runs behind David Warner (386 runs).
Having registered their fifth win in nine games, MI jumped to the second spot in the league table with 10 points, right behind Gujarat Lions, who are on 12 points. For Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the sixth defeat in eight games keeps them in the bottom rung with only four points in their kitty.
Disastrously enough, they have lost four home games in Pune.
In this tournament, Rohit has tried to change his game trying to anchor the chase with controlled aggression. With Parthiv Patel (21), Ambati Rayudu (22) and Jos Buttler (27 no) making small but useful contributions, it became easy for the Mumbai stylist to take his team to a comfortable victory.
For Supergiants, it will be a catch-up game from now on as they would need to win atleast five if not six games and also expect other results to go their way favourably.
Call it an ignominous record but if Supergiants fail to make it to the last four of the competition, it will be the first time since the inception of the tournament that Mahendra Singh Dhoni led team is not in the knock-out stage.
In eight seasons of IPL with the Chennai Super Kings, Dhoni has led the team to the finals on six occasions (2008, 2010 (w), 2011 (w), 2012, 2013, 2015) while the other two occasions ended in last four finishes (2009, 2014)
Rising Pune Supergiants: Ajinkya Rahane, Saurabh Tiwary, Steve Smith, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Thisara Perera, Peter Handscomb, Rajat Bhatia, Scott Boland, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ashok Dinda, Murugan Ashwin
Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (captain), Parthiv Patel, Ambati Rayudu, Krunal Pandya, Jos Buttler, Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya, Harbhajan Singh, Jasprit Bumrah, Tim Southee, Mitchell McClenaghan.