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IPL PHOTOS: Dhoni's last-over heroics helps Pune avoid last place

Source: PTI
May 21, 2016 20:33 IST
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Mahendra Singh Dhoni

IMAGE: Mahendra Singh Dhoni hits a six. Photograph: BCCI

Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni single-handedly scripted Rising Pune Supergiants' face-saving four-wicket win over Kings XI Punjab with a last-ball six to help them avoid the bottom-place finish in the Indian Premier League in Visakhapatnam, on Saturday.

- Scorecard

Chasing 173, Pune never looked in contention, but Dhoni played the lone ranger with an unbeaten 32-ball 64 to secure an improbable win for the debutants.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni

IMAGE: Mahendra Singh Dhoni on the attack. Photograph: BCCI

Pune looked down and out at 86 for five in the 14th over before Dhoni brought out his best and smashed five sixes and four boundaries.

Needing 23 runs from the last over, Dhoni struck three sixes and a four off the hapless Axar Patel, including two sixes from the last two balls to take his team to victory in grand style and leave the Punjab team stunned.

However, for Dhoni, who had successfully led Chennai Super Kings in the previous editions of the tournament and never finished outside the play-offs besides winning the title twice, this has been his most disappointing campaign.

Earlier, Ravichandran Ashwin claimed four wickets but Punjab finished on a healthy 172 for seven in their 20 overs courtesy of half-centuries from captain Murali Vijay and Gurkeerat Mann.

IMAGE: Rising Pune Supergiants players celebrate the wicket of Gurkeerat Mann. Photograph: BCCI

Punjab finished bottom of the heap with just eight points from 14 games.

Opting to bat, Vijay led from the front, scoring a 41-ball 59 that included four hits to the fence and three sixes. He also shared a valuable opening partnership of 60 runs with Hashim Amla (30).

Ashwin got the breakthrough for Pune when he dismissed Amla, and in the very next over wicketkeeper-batsman Wriddhiman Saha (3) was also sent back to the dressing room with Adam Zampa doing the damage.

Gurkeerat Mann

IMAGE: Gurkeerat Singh Mann hits out. Photograph: BCCI

But Vijay and Gurkeerat played with responsibility to steady the boat as the duo put on a 58-run stand for the third wicket before the skipper fell to Ashwin.

Ashwin further tighten the noose by dismissing Gurkeerat and new batsman David Miller in his next over. Gurkeerat had provided the boost in the final overs as he stroked a quickfire 51 from 30 balls.

Murali Vijay

IMAGE: Murali Vijay hits a six. Photograph: BCCI

None of the lower-order batsmen reached the double figures with Miller concluding a miserable tournament with another failure.

Ashwin was the pick of the bowlers for Pune with figures of four for 34 from four overs.

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