PUNE, April 22: Mahendra Singh Dhoni smashed an unbeaten 61 to finally come good and reassert his top-class finisher tag as he guided Rising Pune Supergiant to a six- wicket victory over defending champions Sunrisers Hyderabad in a thrilling IPL match here today.
After a series of flop shows, Dhoni�s reputation as a top-notch finisher was at stake, but today the former India captain was in his elements, smashing a flurry of fours and sixes as Pune overhauled the target of 177 in the final ball of the run chase.
Dhoni needed two runs from the final delivery but he hit Siddarth Kaul for a boundary as Pune reached 179 for 4 to the wild celebrations of the home supporters at the MCA Stadium.
Dhoni faced 34 deliveries for his unbeaten 61 that included five fours and three sixes.
This was the third win for Pune from six matches and they now have six points.
Hyderabad, on the other hand, have eight points from seven matches, after four wins and three losses.
Opener Rahul Tripathi had kept Pune in the hunt with a 41-ball 59 before he was out in the 14th over. Captain Steve Smith contributed with a 21-ball 27 but he got out early in the 11th over.
When Dhoni came out at number four at the fall of Smith�s wicket in the final delivery of the 11th over at 87 for 2, Pune needed 10 runs an over to win the match.
However, the situation worsened after Tripathi was out.
Ben Stokes (10), this IPL season�s costliest buy, once again failed to contribute, falling in the 17th over and by that time the asking rate had shot up to above 14 an over.
Dhoni, who seemed to be struggling as he could not connect his bat with the ball for some time, then swung into action as he hit two fours and a six to take 17 runs from the 18th over bowled by Mohammed Siraj. � PTI
Sunrisers Hyderabad innings: David Warner b Unadkat 43, Shikhar Dhawan c Tripathi b Tahir 30, Kane Williamson lbw b Christian 21, Moises Henriques not out 55, Deepak Hooda not out 19. Extras: (LB-4 W-3 NB-1) 8. Total: (For 3 wkts in 20 overs) 176. Fall of wickets: 1/55 2/84 3/129. Bowling: Jaydev Unadkat 4-0-41-1, Washington Sundar 3-0- 19-0, Ben Stokes 2-0-19-0, Shardul Thakur 4-0-50-0, Daniel Christian 4-0-20-1, Imran Tahir 3-0-23-1.
Rising Pune Supergiant: Ajinkya Rahane c Kaul b Bipul Sharma 2, Rahul Tripathi run out (Rashid Khan) 59, Steve Smith b Rashid Khan 27, MS Dhoni not out 61, Ben Stokes c sub (V Shankar) b Kumar 10, Manoj Tiwary not out 17. Extras: (LB-2, W-1) 3. Total: (For 4 wkts; 20 overs) 179. Fall of wickets: 1-15, 2-87, 3-98, 4-121. Bowling: Bhuvneshwar Kumar 4-0-39-1, Bipul Sharma 4-0-30 -1, Mohammed Siraj 4-0-42-0, Siddarth Kaul 3-0-45-0, Rashid Khan 4-0-17-1, Moises Henriques 1-0-4-0.