Published: Sat, May 20, 2017
Sports | By Nelson Rowe

MS Dhoni was magnificent, says Smith after RPS reach IPL 2017 final

But a dismal collapse from Kings XI left Supergiant needing just 74 to win, and they promptly chased down that scant total in just 12 overs, finishing second to set up a Qualifer 1 clash with Mumbai Indians, who topped the table.

At one stage, Mumbai's Rohit Sharma almost ended up in Smith's lap while trying to catch one of Dhoni's sixes as it sailed over the boundary rope.

It was a disastrous day for Kings XI from start to finish and was typified by the dismissal of Martin Guptill from the very first ball of the match, the opener driving loosely to cover. Probably the worst batting performance of this season for us.

However, from there on, Mumbai hardly gained any momentum as Thakur snared a three wicket haul to keep the hosts down to 142 for nine in the 20 overs.

RPS don't really have a foreign recruit who could fill in the big boots of the Englishman and skipper Steve Smith admitted that someone will have to put his hand up in the remaining matches.

Punjab's middle-order suffered a collapse with Eoin Morgan (4), who was playing in place of Manan Vohra, Rahul Tewatia (4) and skipper Glenn Maxwell (0) failing to step up to the occasion. The wicketkeeper-batman was the glue the kept the Kings XI Punjab innings together.

Each and every player from the Mumbai Indians team toiled with the bat during their last practice session at the Wankhede Stadium yesterday, particularly spinners Krunal Pandya and Harbhajan Singh. The credit goes to Indian bowlers.

Man of the Match Washington Sundar said: "It's very heartening for me to do well against such a big team on such a big stage in front of a packed crowd".

But it was 17-year-old Sunder who turned it round for Pune with his impressive figures of 3-16, making up for the absence of star all-rounder Ben Stokes.

Pune stumbled at the start losing two wickets in the first two overs.

With this game being played at the Wankhede, the odds are certainly with the Mumbai Indians, more so because RPS will be without their best player in IPL 2017.

From both sides, they lost each good players in this match. Tiwary and Dhoni scored at 9.95 runs in the 7.2 overs that they batted together. The kind of consistency he showed, none of the other players could do that, even the Indians couldn't take responsibility. The other players in the team have a lot to learn from Hashim Amla, be it worldwide players or Indian. "We always knew that when Maxwell fires, he can win the match on his own".

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