Dhoni delivers as Pune reach IPL final

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MS Dhoni proved he is still a man for the big occasion and Washington Sundar also sparkled as Rising Pune Supergiant beat Mumbai Indians by 20 runs to reach the Indian Premier League final.

Dhoni has had his critics during the tournament, but the former India captain will play in a record seventh IPL final after bludgeoning a brutal unbeaten 40 off only 26 balls to get Pune up to 162-4.

Ajinkya Rahane and Manoj Tiwary made half-centuries and Dhoni produced some late fireworks, hitting five sixes, before Sundar claimed outstanding figures of 3-16 as Mumbai were only able to muster 142-9 at the Wankhede Stadium on Tuesday.

Parthiv Patel got a Mumbai side which finished the regular season top of the table off to a flyer in their run chase, but his 52 from 40 balls was in vain.

Pune can now put their feet up before the final in Hyderabad on May 21, while Mumbai will be their opponents if they defeat either Sunrisers Hyderabad or Kolkata Knight Riders in a second qualifier on Friday.

 

Rahul Tripathi went without scoring when he was cleaned up by the fifth ball of the match from Mitchell McClenaghan and Lasith Malinga struck a huge blow in the next over by getting rid of Steve Smith.

Pune were 9-2 when Tiwary arrived at the crease, but Rahane (56 from 43) provided some impetus by taking McClenaghan for back-to-back boundaries. 

Rahane went soon after passing 50 following a stand of 80, but Tiwary hit a McClenaghan beamer to the boundary to bring up his half-century and hit the next ball down the ground for six before Dhoni cleared the ropes twice in a penultimate over which yielded 26 runs.

There were another two sixes from Dhoni in the last over from Jasprit Bumrah and Tiwary was run out off the final ball in a dramatic end to the innings after making 58 from only 48 deliveries.

Patel got Mumbai off to a great start with three sixes early in their reply, but Lendl Simmons was run out at the non-striker's end after Shardul Thakur got a hand on a miss-timed stroke from his opening partner.

Sundar put Pune firmly on top by removing Rohit Sharma and Ambati Rayudu in the sixth over, the teenager also striking a major blow by getting Kieron Pollard cheaply to put Mumbai in the mire on 51-4.

Patel lacked support and any chance of a Mumbai victory was all but over when he holed out to Thakur, who finished with figures of 3-37 as Pune marched into what will be Dhoni's milestone final.