Dubai: Gujarat Lions recorded a roaring seven-wicket victory over Rising Pune Supergiants with 12 balls to spare in the clash of the two news teams of the Indian Premier League at the at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Rajkot.
Restricting Pune, who won the toss and elected to bat, to 163 for 5, Gujarat openers Aaron Finch and Brendon McCullum thrashed the Pune bowling attack to put on 85 runs in the first 8.3 overs. Finch cracked 50 off just 36 balls with seven boundaries and two sixes while McCullum scored 49 off 31 balls with three boundaries and three sixes.
Gujarat skipper Suresh Raina chipped in with 23 runs. After adding 35 runs in 4.4 overs with McCullum he went on to add 27 runs in three overs with Dwayne Bravo (22n.o). For Gujarat it is their second successive win after their five-wicket win over Kings XI Punjab on April 11.
It was indeed superb bowling and fielding from Gujarat that restricted Pune from a commanding 87 for 1 in first ten overs to just 163 for 5. Pune opener Faf du Plessis’s superb 69 runs off 43 balls with five boundaries and four sixes went in vain. Kevin Pietersen scored 37 runs off 31 balls and together they had put on 86 runs in 10.1 overs. At one stage it looked like Pune will easily post over 200 runs. In fact they reached this score itself due to their skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s unbeaten 22 off 10 balls. In the last over from Dwayne Bravo, Dhoni hit 20 runs. In the last 14 innings in Twenty20, Dhoni has been dismissed just once. At his score on 12 he crossed the 3000 run mark in the IPL.
McCullum and Finch began the chase positively. McCullum slapped RP Singh over the point for a six off the second over. He also pulled him into the stands for another six. The pair recorded their fifty runs partnership in just 5.3 overs. Leg spinner Murugan Ashwin was hit for four boundaries in the one over by Finch. In the seventh over Finch hit Rajat Bhatia for two towering sixes over long on to place Gujarat in a strong position.
Finch reached his half century in just 33 balls. It was his second successive half century following his 74 against Kings XI Punjab in their opening match. He fell for 50 sweeping Murugan to Ishant Sharma at deep square leg. He put on 85 runs in 8.3 overs.
Skipper Suresh Raina and McCullum steered their team past the 100 run mark in the 11th over. Dhoni also missed stumping McCullum on 46 off Ravichandran Ashwin. McCullum fell one run shot of his half century top edging Ishant Sharma to Faf at covers. At this stage Gujarat needed just 44 runs off 42 balls.
When Raina fell for 24 stumped by Dhoni off Murugan, Gujarat needed only 17 more runs to reach the target.
Earlier, Rahane and Faf du Plessis gave Pune a good start. Rahane hit left-arm spinner Shadab Jakati for two consecutive boundaries, one past mid-on and another to midwicket in the second over. He was stroking brilliantly when 44-year-old leg spinner Pravin Tambe had Rahane leg before with a ball that skid through. The openers put 27 runs in 3.5 overs.
Faf hit Jakati for a six over long on and picked a boundary to midwicket in the fifth over. Kevin Pietersen pulled Dwayne Bravo for a six. Faf also hit Ravindra Jadeja over the sight screen and Pune in the first ten overs scored 87 for 1.
Faf reached his half century in 33 balls with four boundaries and three sixes. Pietersen fell in the 14th over playing on to his wicket a Bravo delivery for 37 off 31 balls with two fours and one six. He put on 86 runs in 10.1 overs with Faf.
Steven Smith joined Faf in full flow. In the 16th over, Faf hit Tambe through the covers and also hit him for a six when Brendon McCullum at long off tipped the ball over the boundary line. However, Tamba had Faf stumped by wicket keeper Dinesh Karthik off the fourth ball of that over. In the 17th over, Smith too followed hitting Ravindra Jadeja straight to James Faulkner at covers for 5.
Despite Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Mitchell Marsh at the crease Bravo bowled a brilliant 18th over giving away just five runs. Jadeja also clean bowled Marsh in the 19th over for 7. Dhoni ensured Pune cross the 150 run mark in the last over through some brilliant running between the wickets with Rajat Bhatia. He also hit Bravo for a six over long on to take 20 runs off the last over to remain unbeaten on 22 off ten balls.
Gujarat Lions bt Pune Rising Supergiants by 7 wickets. Pune Rising Supergiants 163 for 5 in 20 overs (Ajinkya Rahane 21, Faf du Plessis 69, Kevin Pietersen 37, Mahendra Singh Dhoni 22n.o, Pravin Tambe 2 for 33, Ravindra Jadeja 2 for 18) Gujarat Lions (Aaron Finch 50, Brendon McCullum 49, Suresh Raina 24, Murugan Ashwin 2 for 31).