Rising Pune Supergiant march into IPL playoffs

May 14, 2017

PUNE, India (AP) — Rising Pune Supergiant demolished Kings XI Punjab by nine wickets and stormed into the Indian Premier League playoffs while last-placed Royal Challengers Bangalore signed off with a 10-run victory over Delhi Daredevils on Sunday.

At Pune, in a must-win game for both teams to qualify for the playoffs, Kings XI were bundled out for 73 in 15.5 overs — their lowest total in the IPL.

Supergiant finished off the game in 12 overs when it reached 78-1 as Ajinkya Rahana (34 not out) smashed a six off captain Glenn Maxwell’s off-spin.

Supergiant ended up second in the points table with 18 and will take on first-placed Mumbai Indians in the first playoff on Tuesday.

The loser of this game will have one more chance to qualify for the final by taking on the winner of the eliminator between defending champions Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kolkata Knight Riders, who finished third and fourth respectively.

“Was fortunate to win the toss, the ball was stopping,” Supergiant captain Steve Smith said. “Really good to finish second and have bites at the cherry.”

Nothing went right for Kings XI after they lost the all-important toss and were asked to bat on a wicket which had plenty of moisture.

Seamers Shardul Thakur (3-19) and Jaydev Unadkat (2-12) destroyed the top order and Kings XI limped to 32-5 inside the first six overs of batting powerplay.

Martin Guptill (0) was caught off Thakur’s first ball of the match at short cover, Shaun Marsh (10) holed out to Steve Smith while Eoin Morgan (4) was run out by Unadkat’s smart direct throw. Unadkat plucked a spectacular diving catch at short fine leg to dismiss Rahul Tewatia (4) and Maxwell (0) flicked the ball to the safe hands of Rahane at deep square leg.

Axar Patel top-scored with 22 before he gave wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni one of his three catches as Dan Christian (2-10) and Adam Zampa (2-22) finished off the tail quickly.

Rahane and Rahul Tripathi (28) then eased to 41 off 33 balls before Patel bowled Tripathi round his legs in the only Supergiant wicket to fall.

“The toss had something to do with it,” said Maxwell as Kings XI finished at No. 5 with 14 points after winning seven matches and losing seven.

“The wicket was damp after a few days of rain. Everything went against us and we could not recover. Unfortunately in the IPL, a lot can be decided by the toss.”

At Delhi, Royal Challengers captain Virat Kohli (58 off 45) and Chris Gayle (48 off 38) led their team to 161-6 after Daredevils captain Zaheer Khan lost the toss in his 100th IPL appearance.

Despite losing wickets regularly, Rishabh Pant kept Daredevils in contention with 45 off 34 before he was bowled by seamer Harshal Patel (3-43) in the 17th over which reduced the home team to 119-7.

Left-arm spinner Pawan Negi (3-10) then claimed the last three wickets as Daredevils were bowled out for 151 on the last ball of their innings. Daredevils finished at No. 6 with 12 points from six victories.

“It’s good to finish off well, wasn’t easy after six-day break,” Kohli said as last year’s finalists Royal Challengers ended up last with seven points, winning just three of their 14 games.

“We’ve got a great chance to look at all the things we’ve done wrong and refresh as a franchise.”