Finch, McCullum Star in Gujarat’s Seven-Wicket Win Over Pune
Gujarat Lions beat Rising Pune Supergiants by seven wickets at Rajkot.
Aaron Finch and Brendon McCullum played destructive knocks up the order to guide Gujarat Lions to a comprehensive seven-wicket win over Rising Pune Supergiants in the battle of debutants at the Indian Premier League, at Rajkot on Thursday.
Their second consecutive win propelled Gujarat Lions to the top of the points table.
Chasing a below-par 164 for win, Gujarat Lions rode on a powerful batting display to overwhelm the target with two overs to spare.
Electing to bat earlier in the day, Du Plessis (69) and Kevin Pietersen (37) went hammer and tongs 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.
Coming out to chase the target, Finch (50 off 36) and McCullum (49 off 31) got Gujarat Lions off to a breezy start, sharing 85 runs for the opening stand in just 8.3 overs.
Finch was the initiator as he used his power to great effect and smashed young leg-spinner Murugan Ashwin (2/31) for four boundaries in the sixth over. He then took on Rajat Bhatia and smashed the medium-pacer for two sixes in the next over to make his intentions clear.
Finch reached to his 50 in just 33 balls with the help of seven fours and two sixes but soon after he perished trying to hit another boundary, caught by Ishant Shama at fine-leg off Murugan Ashwin.
After Finch’s dismissal, McCullum took the onus of him and struck Ravichandran Ashwin for a bounadry and a six in the 12th over before getting a life when MS Dhoni missed a regulation stumping in the next ball.
But the missed stumping did not cost Supergiants much as McCullum was dismissed soon, caught by Du Plessis off Ishant Sharma as the batsman went for an extravagant shot.
But by that time the damage has already been done and therafter Gujarat Lions skipper Suresh Raina (24) and Dwayne Bravo (22 off 10) played sensibly to take the hosts home with 12 balls to spare.
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