Hardik Pandya's fireworks take Mumbai Indians to 184/8 vs RPS

Indo Asian News Service

Pune, April 6 (IANS) All-rounder Hardik Pandya's last-over heroics helped Mumbai Indians recover from a mediocre position to post a healthy 184/8 against Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) in the second game of the 2017 Indian Premier League (IPL) at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium here on Thursday.

Bengal medium pacer Ashoke Dinda was the culprit for the home side conceding 30 runs in the final over when Hardik (35 not out) hammered the right-armer for four sixes (including three consecutive) and a four to change the course of the game.

Earlier, South African leg-spinner Imran Tahir, who went unsold in the auctions and was a late addition to the Pune squad, brought the hosts back into the game with three quick wickets after the Mumbai opening duo of Jos Buttler (38) and Parthiv Patel (19) added 45 runs for the opening wicket.

Introduced in the fifth over, Tahir struck in his second ball when he bowled Parthiv round his legs before packing Mumbai skipper Rohit Sharma (3) and Buttler in his next over to reduce Mumbai to 62/3.

Rohit, who has been out of action for almost five months, was slow on his feet and it was enough for Tahir to break through his defence. One ball later, Tahir trapped the dangerous Buttler in front although television replays later showed that the Englishman had got a thick inside edge.

Before his dismissal, Buttler lived up to his billing, milking his English teammate and IPL-10's costliest buy Ben Stokes (Rs 14.5 crore) for two consecutive sixes and then dispatching rookie Rajasthan medium-pacer Deepak Chahar for a four and a six off back-to-back deliveries. His 19-ball knock was laced with three hits to the fence and as many maximums.

After the strategic time-out, Pune skipper Steve Smith introduced veteran all-rounder Rajat Bhatia, who responded well by taking a simple return catch to pack Ambati Rayudu (10) before dismissing Krunal Pandya (3) cheaply.

Australian leggie Adam Zampa then added to the misery for the visitors by picking the crucial wicket of Nitish Rana (34), comfortably caught by Bhatia at deep midwicket.

Rana looked good for his 28-ball knock, consisting a four and two sixes, but it was the 30-run fourth-wicket stand with Rayudu and 18 runs with Keiron Pollard (27) that mattered more.

Pollard, who was dropped by Dhoni on 22, struggled to get the big shots before falling to a stunning running catch by Mayank Agarwal at the long-on boundary off Stokes.

The West Indian struck three boundaries and a six in his 17-ball innings as he added 21 runs for the seventh wicket with Hardik Pandya.

Hardik then added 37 runs for the eighth wicket with New Zealander Tim Southee (7) to put Mumbai in a commanding position.

Brief Scores: Mumbai Indians 184/8 (Jos Buttler 38, Hardik Pandya 35 not out, Nitish Rana 34, Imran Tahir 3/28, Rajat Bhatia 2/14) vs Rising Pune Supergiant.

--IANS

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