Smith blitz gets Pune off to winning start

Nathu Singh will be a promising bowling option for Gujarat Lions

Pune: Steve Smith is all set to take over the reins of the rising Pune Supergiants, as the franchise head into their first IPL 2017 game against Mumbai Indians at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, in Pune, on Thursday.

While Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit Sharma's form at the top will be important, Kieron Pollard and Jos Buttler's big hits, and veteran spinner Harbhajan Singh's craft will decide how the team fares in the match.

Rahane hit six boundaries and three sixes in his 34-ball knock and shared 58 runs for the second wicket with Smith.

Pollard, who was dropped by M.S. Dhoni on 22, struggled to get the big shots before falling to a stunning running catch by Mayank Agarwal at the long-on boundary off Stokes.

While Dhoni would be desperate to prove a point with his blazing blade - a fitting reply for being stripped off captaincy, Smith will look to forget Australia's 1-2 loss against India in a draining Test series recently.


Parthiv Patel welcomed Imran Tahir by sweeping him to the fence off the first delivery. Rising Pune Supergiant registered an impressive 7-wicket victory in the first match, powered by half-centuries from Steven Smith (84 not out) and Ajinkya Rahane (60).

Smith, in his first match as Supergiant captain, won the toss and made Mumbai bat first, and the Indians tallied a competitive 184-8. The Australian captain also bagged the player of the match award. Dinda had been costly in his opening burst of two overs and Smith's decision to toss the ball to the Bengal fast bowler backfired as he gave away 28 runs in the last over for MI to set an asking rate in excess of nine runs an over.

Ambati Rayudu's brief stay in the middle was ended by Rajat Bhatia, whose wily medium pace got the better of Rayudu and he gifted an easy return catch to Bhatia to depart for 10 as Mumbai Indians slumped to 92/4.

Earlier, Mumbai Indians were put into bat by Steven Smith and their choice of openers left a lot of people surprised and definitely caught their opponents unaware. Hardik got most of his runs off the last over of the innings, with the MI all-rounder hitting Ashok Dinda for four sixes and a four in an over which went for 30 runs - the most expensive final over in IPL history.

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