RAJKOT: Faf du Plessis smashed a quick half century before Gujarat Lions pulled things back with fine death bowling display to restrict Rising Pune Supergiants to 163 for five in an Indian Premier League match, here today.
Du Plessis (69) and Kevin Pietersen (37) were going great guns after the fall of Ajinkya Rahane (21) to raise hopes of a 200-plus score for Supergiants at one stage, but Gujarat Lions pulled things back with brilliant death bowling from Ravindra Jadeja, who finished with impressive figures off 2/18 from his four overs.
Opting to bat, the Supergiants were off to a flying start with Rahane playing some great cricketing shots, which included two consecutive boundaries of Shadab Jakati in the0 second over.
Rahane looked in great touch and lofted Praveen Tambe (2/33) over mid-on for another four. But a ball later the veteran leg-spinner had his man when he foxed Rahane with a quicker delivery to catch his young Mumbai teammate plumb in front of the wicket.
Rahane's dismissal hardly had any impact on the Supergiants scoring rate as Du Plessis and Pietersen went about their business in style, stitching 86 runs for the second wicket in just 61 balls.
Du Plessis was the aggressive among the duo as he smashed five boundaries and four sixes during his 43-ball knock, while Pietersen's runs came off 31 balls with the help of two fours and one hit over the fence.
Just when it seemed the duo would run away with the innings, Dwayne Bravo (1/43) bowled Pietersen with a slower delivery in the last ball of the 14th over.
Du Plessis, however, kept his aggressive attitude and smashed Tambe for a four and six in consecutive balls before perishing in next ball in search of one too many. He was stumped by Dinesh Karthik as the South African went for another huge hit.
Jadeja then dismissed Steven Smith and Mitchell Marsh in his consecutive overs to pull things back for the Gujarat Lions.
Towards the end, Supergiants skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (22 not out off 10) proved why he is regarded as the best finishers of the game as he struck Bravo for two boundaries and one six to pick up 20 runs off the last over and take his team past the 160-run mark.
Rising Pune Supergiants: 163 for five in 20 overs (Faf du Plessis 69, Kevin Pietersen 37, Mahendra Singh Dhoni 22 not out; Ravindra Jadeja 2/18).