Rising Pune Supergiant sans Ben Stokes maintained their winning run against the Mumbai Indians after they overcame the Rohit Sharma led side by 20 runs in the first qualifier at the Wankhede Stadium.
Batting first, Pune didn’t get the best of starts as in-form Rahul Tripathi and skipper Steve Smith were dismissed in consecutive overs by pacers Mitchell McClenaghan and Lasith Malinga.
But Ajinkya Rahane (56) and Manoj Tiwary (58) steadied the ship with an 80 run stand and a Mahendra Singh Dhoni special towards the end of the innings saw the Steve Smith led side post 162 runs on the board.
Dhoni relived his 2011 World Cup final memories at the Wankhede as he bludgeoned his way to 40 from 26 balls hitting five sixes in the process.
His blitzkrieg towards the end meant that all the momentum was with Pune as they headed into the innings break.
In reply, Mumbai Indians lost opener Lendl Simmons (5) quite early. But the main damage was yet to come as young off-spinner Washington Sundar broke the back of the batting as he dismissed Rohit Sharma (1), Ambati Rayudu (0) and Kieron Pollard (7) to leave the home side reeling at 51/4 at one stage.
Mumbai couldn’t really recover from this setback as none of the remaining batsmen showed any fight. Only wicketkeeper batsman Parthiv Patel fought a lone battle as he scored 52 from 40 balls.
The inevitable was only delayed by the tail-enders as Pune went on to win the contest by 20 runs and thereby would reach the final of the tournament for the first time. For Smith, this would be his first IPL final but he would surely love to draw the experience of playing in the finals from veteran Mahendra Singh Dhoni who has been a part of the IPL finals quite a number of times.
Rising Pune Supergiant 162/4 ( Manoj Tiwary 58, Ajinkya Rahane 56 ; Karn Sharma 1/30) beat Mumbai Indians 142/9 ( Parthiv Patel 52, Jasprit Bumrah 16 ; Washington Sundar 3/16) by 20 runs.