Rising Pune Supergiant captain Steve Smith said on Sunday that the team will miss Ben Stokes in the IPL play-offs after they comfortably beat Kings XI Punjab in a do-or-die match in Pune.
In a potential knock-out clash, Pune defeated Kings XI Punjab by nine wickets on Sunday to finish second in the points table behind Mumbai Indians, which means they will get two shots for a place in the summit clash.
It was complete domination by the home team, which first skittled out Kings XI Punjab for a paltry 73 and then knocked off the runs in only 12 overs.
"It was a nice day. The bowlers did a terrific job," said Smith.
"We were searching a bit in the first few games. We had new players coming in, we have a good balance now. Really good to finish second and have bites at the cherry. Yeah, we have a couple of options for Stokes. He has been magnificent and will be a big loss. Hopefully, the other guys will stand up for us," he added.
Stokes, the costliest buy of the IPL, will leave for national duty after Sunday match – he scored 316 runs from 12 games with 103 not out being his highest. With the ball the English all-rounder picked up 12 wickets from as many games.
Smith said toss played a crucial in deciding the outcome of the match.
"We were fortunate to win the toss, the ball was stopping. It was an easy decision today, the wicket was sticky. Shardul (Thakur) was outstanding, (Jaydev) Unadkat again was outstanding," he said.
Kings XI Punjab skipper Glenn Maxwell too agreed with his Australian teammate and said losing the toss didn't augur well for them in the crucial game.
"The toss had something to do with it. The wicket was damp after a few days of rain. It was just about assessing the conditions. Everything went against us and we could not recover. We have lost our last five tosses. Unfortunately in the IPL, a lot can be decided by the toss," he said.
Maxwell said despite failing to qualify for the play-offs there were a lot of positives to take from this edition of the IPL.
"We did not finish last, which was great. The way we played our last four of five games was great. Axar (Patel_ was outstanding with bat, ball, and (in) the field. We will reflect on the positives in the change room. Thanks to the fans for the support," he said.