Mumbai: Gujarat Lions pacer Dhawal Kulkarni heaped praise on opener Aaron Finch, saying the Australian showed great character and played one of the best innings to guide them to a three-wicket win over Mumbai Indians on Saturday.
Asked about the hamstring injury faced by Finch, Kulkarni said, "We just hoped he continued playing and that's what he did, he showed great character and helped us win the game and he (Finch) is ok now."
In-form opener Finch scored 67 not out to single-handedly take the Lions to a last-ball win over defending champions Mumbai Indians. "He (Finch) played throughout, it was one of the best innings I have ever witnessed. He batted from the start and made sure we end up on the winning side," the 27-year-old pacer told reporters at the
Kulkarni, who also hit a four in the last over, said, "My game plan was to just give him the strike, but anything pitched up I had to slog and luckily (Jasprit) Bumrah bowled a half volley and I could hit a boundary."
About his own bowling performance, the Mumbaikar said, "I have had performances like these before as well. I wouldn't rate this as highly as the ones I have had in the past. It was my first game for Gujarat Lions, a proud moment for me and playing at my home ground is a special feeling. I want to play here, I want to do well here."
Kulkarni picked up the wicket of his Mumbai teammate Rohit Sharma. Asked if there was an edge to the battle between the two, the pacer said, "I feel I am always there for that battle, when you see your teammate facing you, its gives you that extra energy to bowl. He is also such a great player and to take his wicket, it was a great moment for me."
"I have always looked up to him and he has always helped me out. On Saturday we were playing each other, so there was no friendship. We just wanted to win," he added.
The last four overs of the first innings went for 55 runs but Kulkarni said they weren't too perturbed by it. "Nothing went wrong, it happens in this format, you may start well, but the batsman tend to slog towards the end. We bowled well actually, just that in patches there were many loose balls."