The calming presence of Ajinkya Rahane made sure that Rising Pune Supergiants register a comfortable seven-wicket win over an in-form Delhi Daredevils side at Feroz Shah Kotla on Thursday.
The win also revived Mahendra Singh Dhoni's team's campaign in the 2016 Indian Premier League (IPL) season. They are now sixth in league table with six points from nine matches, as against Delhi's 10 from eight matches.
Chasing a 163-run target set by Delhi, Rahane (63 no. off 48) and their new recruit Usman Khawaja (30 off 27) posted a patient 59-run opening stand to give a solid foundation towards its fruition.
After the departure of the Aussie talent, who had a productive Big Bash season, Rahane in company of promoted Saurabh Tiwary (21 off 18) posted another sizeable stand for the second wicket.
Then, MS Dhoni arrived with a license to swing and play his natural attacking game in the final stretch of the match. He hit 27 runs off 20 balls with the help of two sixes and a four.
The finishing touches was given by hard-hitting Sri Lankan all-rounder Thisara Perera (14 off 5), even as Rahane hit the winning runs with a four.
RISING PUNE SUPERGIANTS INNINGS; TARGET 163
Over 19.1 || Score 166/3 (A Rahane 63; Th Perera 14)
A single to Thisara Perera off the first ball, and it also turned out to be a big no-ball.
Then, Ajinkya Rahane hit the winning runs with a four, hoisting over mid-wicket.
A good win for Rising Pune Supergiants, by seven wickets.
Over 19 || Score 160/3 (A Rahane 59; Th Perera 13)
The penultimate over started with Pune needing 17 from 12 balls. And rightly, skipper MS Dhoni slogged well of length ball. But a brilliant catch by a tumbling Sam Billing at deep mid-wicket ended Dhoni's innings.
WICKET: MS Dhoni c Sam Billings b Imran Tahir 27 (20b)
Ajinkya Rahane took a single off the next ball, then the new man Thisara Perera hoisted a huge six over long-on. A dot ball, and another six as Perera hit another six over deep mid-wicket.
A single more and 14 runs from the over.
EQUATION: 3 runs from 6 balls.
Over 18 || Score 146/2 (A Rahane 58; MS Dhoni 27)
Trying to follow a moving Ajinkya Rahane, Mohammed Shami ended up giving away five wides, boundary down the leg. That happened after Ms Dhoni took a single off the first ball.
A single, then a short ball to his India limited overs' captain, and result: a four from a pull shot.
It was followed by a length ball, which went for a six — down the ground, over long-on boundary.
Then, the skipper played a crafty cut shot to beat the fielder at backward point, which was a four written all over it. But Carlos Brathwaite saved two runs with a stunning dive near the rope.
A single, with a gentle pull shot, to end the 20-run over.
EQUATION: 17 runs required from 12 balls.
Over 17 || Score 126/2 (A Rahane 57; MS Dhoni 13)
Amit Mishra returned for his fourth and final over. Good one from the leg spinner, even though he missed a chance to effect a run out to send back Ajinkya Rahane off the last ball.
A good, flat throw on from Sam Billings from deep mid-wicket was failed to collect by the bowling guarding the stumps and in a hurry, he dislodged the wickets. And Rahane got a reprieve.
Six singles from the over.
EQUATION: 37 runs required from 18 balls.
Over 16 || Score 120/2 (A Rahane 54; MS Dhoni 10)
On the other hand, Imran Tahir continued with another brilliant over of spin bowling.
Two singles off the first two balls, then a dot ball, before a leg-bye to MS Dhoni.
Ajinkya Rahane took another single off the fifth ball, then Dhoni ate up the last ball. Four runs from the over.
And the equation: 43 runs required from 24 balls.
Over 15 || Score 116/2 (A Rahane 52; MS Dhoni 9)
Coming with a license to swing, Pune skipper MS Dhoni struck a mighty six over bowler's head. And the unlucky bowler is Pawan Negi.
That happened off the second ball of the over, after a Ajinkya Rahane took a single off the first ball.
A dot ball, then three singles. for a 10-run over.
Over 14 || Score 106/2 (A Rahane 50; MS Dhoni 1)
Imran Tahir on for his second over, and after a dot ball, he got the better of Saurabh Tiwary. The Pune batsman gone a wild heave, but against his wish, came a googly.
The strike, flat and hard, ended with a fine catch taken at deep mid-wicket by Sam Billings.
WICKET: Saurabh Tiwary c Sam Billings b Imran Tahir 21 (18b)
Then, the new man MS Dhoni took three balls to open his account.
Ajinkya Rahane took a single off the last ball of the over to complete his fifth fifty of the season, off 38 balls.
Over 13 || Score 104/1 (A Rahane 49; S Tiwary 21)
After a long time Carlos Brathwaite returned for his second over today. A single to Ajinkya Rahane, then three more singles followed.
Then, Rahane played a determined pull shot, and four through short fine leg.
A chance for run-out as Rahane, on the danger end, would have lost the race, had the throw from deep mid-wicket come in with some precision.
10 runs from the over.
Over 12 || Score 94/1 (A Rahane 41; S Tiwary 19)
Yes, Delhi also got Imran Tahir. A busy over to start the proceedings for the South African spinner.
A double to Saurabh Tiwary, then a single. A dot ball to Ajinkya Rahane, which was followed by a single, a wide and another single.
Seven runs. Rising Pune Supergiants 69 runs from 48 balls.
Over 11 || Score 87/1 (A Rahane 39; S Tiwary 15)
Amit Mishra taken for some runs. And he's not happy.
The celebrated leg-spinner started with a single to Ajinkya Rahane, then another single to Saurabh Tiwary. A dot ball, then Tiwary played a slog shot for a six over long-on boundary.
Then a front foot no ball, with a single. In the reload for free-hit, Mishra delivered it above waist-height. Free-hit remain but another single added to Pune's total.
Tiwary heaved and picked out Sam Billings at deep mid-wicket. Nothing happened, only a single.
A single, then a dot ball, then another single to make it a 13-run over.
Over 10 || Score 74/1 (A Rahane 37; S Tiwary 7)
At the half-way mark, skipper Jean-Paul Duminy introduced himself with his mixers. Effective, all-weather bowler. Nine runs from the over.
The over started with a single to Ajinkya Rahane. Another single, then Rahane played a classsic cover drive for a four.
Three more singles from the over.
Over 9 || Score 65/1 (A Rahane 30; S Tiwary 5)
Amit Mishra continued with his second over. A dot ball to Usman Khawaja, then produced a googly to beat the Aussie. Nice, clean work behind to stumps by Sanju Samson. Stumped. Khawaja's, an otherwise impressive, IPL debut is done.
WICKET: Usman Khawaja st Sanju Samson b Amit Mishra 30 (27b)
Saurabh Tiwary, promoted once again, hit a four off the first ball he faced. Another googly, but the batsman won the battle this time as the Jharkhand Ranji skipper squeezed past the vacant slip cordon.
Two singles, and a dot ball.
Over 8 || Score 59/0 (A Rahane 29; U Khawaja 30 )
Jayant Yadav on for his fourth and final over. Six runs from it. The off-spinner ended with a figure of 4-0-25-0. Tidy stuff.
Over 7 || Score 53/0 (A Rahane 27; U Khawaja 26)
After the Power-Play period, Jean-Paul Duminy brought in dangerous Amit Mishra into the attack. Good over from the wily leg-spinner, who has taken three IPL hat-tricks for three different teams.
And some action right away.
Three singles off the first three balls, then a good shout for a stumping as quick hands from Sanju Samson seemed to have beat the time for Usman Khawaja who was unbalanced for a while.
Review done. No damaged done.
Another chance, but wicket-keeper this time missed to effect the stumping, rather dislodge even as Khawaja lost his footing trying to play the drifter from Mishra.
Brilliant stuff from Mishra. Three runs, and two chances.
Over 6 || Score 50/0 (A Rahane 25; U Khawaja 25)
Collisions happened in cricket fields. Usman Khawaja coming for a quick single crash into Mohammed Shami, who was at the crease. No injuries. But the single was completed.
Ajinkya Rahane, then, played two brilliantly timed on drives — first one through the square-leg, and the second one through deep square leg. No chance for the chasing fielders.
A single, then a dot ball to Khawaja. The Aussie talent took two runs off the final ball of the over with a pull shot.
12 runs from the over.
Over 5 || Score 38/0 (A Rahane 16; U Khawaja 22)
Jayant Yadav on for his third over on the trot. A dot ball to Ajinkya Rahane, then a three singles.
Then, Usman Khawaja for the first time came down the pitch and executed a lofted drive over the bowler. A six.
It was followed by a similar shot, but played towards mid-wicket area, for a single. 10 runs from the over.
Rising Pune Supergiants need 125 runs from 15 overs.
Over 4 || Score 28/0 (A Rahane 14; U Khawaja 14)
Bowling change, and Mohammed Shami on for his first over.
A single to start the over to Usman Khawaja. Then a four, as Ajinkya Rahane got a thick edge which almost ended as a brilliantly taken catch behind. Sanju Samson almost, again.
A dot ball, then a double, then a four. This time too, a thick edge behind the wicket. But the batsman was changed, to Khawaja. He swung and got the nick.
12 runs from the over.
Over 3 || Score 16/0 (A Rahane 7; U Khawaja 9)
Just three runs from the over, and also, almost a wicket.
Three singles, off the balls from second to fourth. Talking about the 'almost-wicket', Usman Khawaja picked the fourth ball and lofted, but with a hint of miscue. Carlos Brathwaite took a plunge, in an attempt the took the catch at long-off. Almost pulled off.
Jayant Yadav, doing a fine job for his team.
Over 2 || Score 13/0 (A Rahane 6; U Khawaja 7)
Carlos Brathwaite shared the new ball with Jayant Yadav. Strange choices, out of all the bowlers, from stand-in skipper Jean-Paul Duminy.
The West Indian did start with two dot balls off the first two balls. But the third ball was rocked through backward point for a four.
Three singles followed and seven runs from the over.
Rising Pune Supergiants need another 150 runs from 18 overs.
Over 1 || Score 6/0 (A Rahane 5; U Khawaja 1)
Spin to start for Delhi Daredevils. Jayant Yadav, with his off-break, to Ajinkya Rahane for the first delivery.
Next ball, Rahane flicked for a four. A dot ball, then two singles as Usman Khawaja also started his IPL stint after initial ignorance from teams.
Six runs from the over.
DELHI DAREDEVILS INNINGS
Over 20 || Score 162/7 (P Negi 19; Md. Shami 2)
One good last over for Delhi Daredevils. 13 runs from the over as Pawan Negi hit a six and a four, off the second and fifth balls of the over respectively.
The over started with a double, then the six over long-on. Two dot balls as Ashok Dinda had a return.
But the next ball, it was carted through extra cover. Then a single to end the over, and innings. Dinda's figures: 4-0-34-1.
Over 19 || Score 149/7 (P Negi 6; Md. Shami 2)
Brilliant penultimate over from Scott Boland. The 27-year-old conceded only five runs — all singles.
His figures in the first game: 4-0-31-2.
Over 18 || Score 144/7 (P Negi 3; Md. Shami 0)
Another good, wicket taking over from Pune, thanks to another run-out. Second in two overs.
New man Jayant Yadav responded to Pawan Negi's call for second, and the stumps was already disturbed from a direct throw from Saurabh Tiwary, from deep square leg boundary.
WICKET: Jayant Yadav run out 1 (3b)
That happened off the fifth ball of the over. Mohammed Shami is the new man.
Over 17 || Score 138/6 (P Negi 0; J Yadav 0)
Double strike — two wickets off two deliveries — for Rising Pune Supergiants.
Scott Boland returned for his third over, and it started with a dot ball to Jean-Paul Duminy. A single, then a dot to Carlos Brathwaite.
Then, the West Indian hit a monster six — over mid-off. The very next ball, he rued the decision go airborne. A chancy catch at square leg boundary by Thisara Perera.
WICKET: Carlos Brathwaite c Thisara Perera b Scott Boland 20 (8b)
Jean-Paul Duminy played the next ball towards deep mid-wicket, and on his return for second run, he found himself well short of the crease. Run out, good work from MS Dhoni. Good throw from Ajinkya Rahane.
WICKET: JP Duminy run out 34 (32b)
Over 16 || Score 130/4 (JP Duminy 32; C Brathwaite 14)
Then arrived the proverbial hurricane in Delhi. Carlos Brathwaite's 14 off 5, in one over, which included two sixes.
The West Indian knows it's not the biggest of the grounds, and the build that he has got, most of his hits stay hits. He deals in monsters.
18 runs from the over and Delhi suddenly got their case back.
Murugan Ashwin had no answers.
Over 15 || Score 112/4 (JP Duminy 27; C Brathwaite 1)
Rajat Bhatia on for his last over of the day.
Jean-Paul Duminy took two runs from first ball of the over after he gently played towards square leg, then a dot ball before Jean-Paul Duminy took a single off the third ball.
Then the wicket of Sam Billings. He tried lofting for a six over long-on, but could only found Ajinkya Rahane waiting.
WICKET: Sam Billings c Ajinkya Rahane b Rajat Bhatia 24 (15b)
Five runs from the over. Dangerous west Indian Carlos Brathwaite is the new man. Bhatia's figures: 4-0-22-2.
Over 14 || Score 107/3 (JP Duminy 23; S Billings 24)
Another Ashwin on attack. Murugan started his second over with a four to Sam Billings, who rocked it back over the bowlers head. The spinner did well to end the over for six runs.
JP Duminy and Sam Billings have created a 42-run stand in 4.2 overs.
Over 13 || Score 101/3 (JP Duminy 22; S Billings 19)
Finally, a 85 metre six over long-on to break the shackles for Delhi Daredevils. It was followed by another one over mid-on.
These happened off the third and fourth deliveries of the over bowled by Ravichandran Ashwin, hit by Sam Billings.
18 runs from the over, as Delhi batsmen took three singles and a double, besides a wide too.
Over 12 || Score 83/3 (JP Duminy 19; S Billings 5)
Another brilliant over. Sin Singles from Rajat Bhatia's third over.
In the last five overs, Delhi Daredevils have scored 29 runs, losing a wicket also. No boundaries either.
Over 11 || Score 77/3 (JP Duminy 17; S Billings 2)
Murugan Ashwin on, and eight runs from his first over.
In the last four overs, Delhi Daredevils have scored in the sequence of 8, 6, 4 and 5. Pune have produced a definitive web around Delhi batsmen.
Over 10 || Score 69/3 (JP Duminy 10; S Billings 2)
One busy over from Rajat Bhatia. Three singles, a wide, a catch and an unfulfilled stumping attempt from MS Dhoni.
The over started with a dot to Karun Nair. Then, two singles before Nair lofted ever gently. Thisara Perera took the catch at sweeper cover. One of those deceptive cutters from Bhatia.
WICKET: Karun Nair c Thisara Perera b Rajat Bhatia 32 (23b)
A wide followed that wicket, then JP Duminy took a single to give strike to his new partner Sam Billings. The English wicket-keeper batsman took a double to end the over.
But there was a stumping review just following the wicket of Nair.
Over 9 || Score 63/2 (K Nair 31; JP Duminy 8)
Third good, very good on the trot for the fielding side as Ravichandran Ashwin has just completed a 4-run over. Four singles.
Master at work, with his guile and expertise.
As expected, after the fall of Sanju Samson, JP Duminy's first priority was to create a stand with Karun Nair. They are doing it, but rather slowly. Rather an antithesis in T20 cricket, but an overlooked one though.
Over 8 || Score 59/2 (K Nair 29; JP Duminy 6)
Then, in operation is slow, slow medium pacer Rajat Bhatia. Another good over, five singles only. And thus, Rising Pune Supergiants have slowly, but surely started to have their say in the proceedings.
Over 7 || Score 54/2 (K Nair 27; JP Duminy 3)
Spin summoned, and Ravichandran Ashwin got his first over. Six runs from the over — all singles. Good first over from the seasoned campaigner, to build pressure after scalping that wicket of Sanju Samson in the previous over.
Over 6 || Score 48/2 (K Nair 24; JP Duminy 0)
Scott Boland returned for his third over, and it proved a masterstroke for the fielding team.
The over started with a single to Sanju Samson. Then a dot ball before Karun Nair hit a four through third man area. It was more of a deft cut shot, which went past the vacant slip cordon.
A single, then a double to Samson.
Off the last ball, the Delhi batsman wanted to played a lofted shot above mid-wicket, but his attempt refused to take flight and ended with an easy catch for Ravichandran Ashwin there.
WICKET: Sanju Samson c Ravichandran Ashwin b Scott Boland 20 (17b)
Stand-in skipper Jean-Paul Duminy is the new man. Eight runs from the over.
Over 5 || Score 40/1 (S Samson 17; K Nair 19)
Third straight over for Ashok Dinda, and a four to start the over. A bad delivery — fullish and width — and a classic Karun Nair's silken touch through the cover point.
Five more singles, then a free-hit off a no-ball — first of the match. The default ball also went for a four as Nair played a pull shot.
Dinda did well in the reload, to end the over with a legal dot ball. In fact, Nair's attempt to reach the climb of the ball gone awful wrong, and his bat covered more distance the ball. Slipped.
Still 13 runs from the over.
Over 4 || Score 25/1 (S Samson 15; K Nair 9)
Bowling change, and a good over for the batting side. Scott Boland leaked 10 runs in his first over.
The Australian fast medium bowler started with a dot ball to Sanju Samson, then a single.
Third ball, just outside the imagery comfort line, and put to sword. Timed to perfection, through point area, for a four. A single, then Samson waited and whipped past fine leg for second four of the over.
A dot ball to end the over.
Over 3 || Score 17/1 (S Samson 10; K Nair 4)
Ashok Dinda continued for his second over. Two dot balls, then a single to Sanju Samson. Then a wide, deviating, missing the left stump. Then a wild swing from young Rishabh Pant, and he his has been castled. Off stump gone.
WICKET: Rishabh Pant b Ashok Dinda 2 (8b)
Karun Nair, the new man, got a thick edge off the very first ball he faced. A reward, a four. A dot ball, and six runs and a wicket from the over.
Over 2 || Score 11/0 (R Pant 2; S Samson 9)
Thisara Perera shared the new ball with Ashok Dinda. The Sri Lankan bowling all-rounder started with a dot ball to Sanju Samson.
Then, two back-to-back fours as the Indian youngster took complete control of the proceedings here in Delhi. First four, a length ball wide off the radar, and Samson laced it with conviction, and the result — a thick outside edge, and it flew wide of slip for four runs.
It was followed by a well timed flick through mid-wicket, for four runs.
A dot ball, then a single. The nine-run over was ended with a dot.
Over 1 || Score 2/0 (R Pant 2; S Samson 0)
Ashok Dinda, right on the money ... getting the ball into the left-handed batsman, then a similar delivery. Two dot balls to Rishab Pant.
Another good length delivery, on the off-stump. Pant defended on front foot. It was followed by a swinging delivery, just missing the left stump, but managing to get a thick edge off pad. No runs.
Then Dinda's delivery on the middle was played gently towards deep mid-wicket for a double.
Sometime back, teams getting warm-up:
— IndianPremierLeague (@IPL) May 5, 2016
— IndianPremierLeague (@IPL) May 5, 2016
Here are the playing XIs:
Delhi Daredevils: Rishabh Pant, Sanju Samson, Karun Nair, Sam Billings (wk), Jean-Paul Duminy (c), Pawan Negi, Carlos Brathwaite, Jayant Yadav, Amit Mishra, Mohammed Shami, Imran Tahir
Rising Pune Supergiants: Ajinkya Rahane, Usman Khawaja, Saurabh Tiwary, George Bailey, MS Dhoni (wk & capt.), Thisara Perera, Rajat Bhatia, Scott Boland, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ashok Dinda, Murugan Ashwin
TOSS: MS Dhoni wins toss, Rising Pune Supergiants bowl first against Delhi Daredevils. JP Duminy is captaining Delhi today, and Zaheer Khan, Quinton de Kock, Chris Morris and Shahbaz Nadeem are not playing, and ins are Pawan Negi, Jayant Yadav, Carlos Brathwaite and Imran Tahir.
For Pune, Usman Khawaja and George Bailey are playing.
Delhi Daredevils: Quinton de Kock (wk), Shreyas Iyer, JP Duminy, Sanju Samson, Karun Nair, Chris Morris, Carlos Brathwaite, Amit Mishra, Pawan Negi, Zaheer Khan (c), Mohammed Shami
Rising Pune Supergiants: Usman Khawaja, Saurabh Tiwary, Ajinkya Rahane, MS Dhoni, George Bailey, Thisara Perera, Albie Morkel, Rajat Bhatia, Mirugan Ashwin, R Ashwin, Ashok Dinda
MS Dhoni would want to get back to winning ways after a forgettable season so far.
After defeating Mumbai Indians in the opening match of the tournament, RPS have lost six out of seven matches.
The bowlers need to pull up their socks as Pune have failed to defend totals on a regular basis.
On the other hand, Daredevils have looked like a different team as compared to their previous campaigns.
Under Rahul Dravid's mentorship, the team seems to have found a new zeal in the ninth edition of the tournament.
They are ranked at number three in the points table after winning five out of seven matches.
Welcome to our live coverage of the Match 33 of 2016 Indian Premier League between Delhi Daredevils and Rising Pune Supergiants, being played at Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi.