Gujarat Lions (GL) put the misery of two massive defeats behind on Friday with a comfortable seven-wicket win, their first of the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL), over Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) in Rajkot.
Chasing a challenging 172-run target, Brendon McCullum (49 off 32) and Dwayne Smith (47 off 30) got Gujarat Lions off to a flier with a blazing 94-run opening stand to set the base for the convincing victory.
Skipper Suresh Raina (35 not out) and Aaron Finch (33 not out) then finished off the proceedings with an unbeaten 61-run fourth wicket stand with two overs to spare.
Both Smith and McCullum went hammer and tongs right from the very first over and looked set to stretch their partnership beyond the 100-run mark when Shardul Thakur struck in the ninth over. Smith, who was three short of a half-century, guided a short ball from the Mumbai pacer straight to Rahul Chahar at third man. McCullum suffered a similar fate a couple of overs later, and the former New Zealand captain departed just one short of his half-century, getting stumped off Chahar's bowling.
Things got worse when Dinesh Karthik chopped a delivery from Imran Tahir onto his stumps to depart for a meagre 3. Tahir though, had a forgettable day as he conceded 53 in the four overs he bowled.
Raina and Aaron Finch, however, ensured Gujarat suffered no further hiccups along the way, with the duo stitching a quickfire 61-run stand off just 31 balls. Finch ended the chase with back-to-back sixes off Lockie Ferguson.
Earlier, debutant Andrew Tye registered the second hat- trick of the day to enable Gujarat Lions restrict Rising Pune Supergiant to 171/8.
Right-arm pacer Tye, playing his first-ever IPL match, returned with impressive figures of 5 for 17 from his four overs to keep Supergiant under check, especially after a blazing start by opener Rahul Tripathi (33 off 17) and skipper Steven Smith (43 off 28).
Tye's was the second hat-trick of the day in the history of IPL after Royal Challengers Bangalore's Samuel Badree (4/9) achieved the feat earlier in the day against Mumbai Indians in a losing cause.
Gujarat skipper Raina took a stunning one-handed catch in the slips to dismiss Ajinkya Rahane for a duck. Smith and opener Rahul Tripathi then added a solid stand for the second wicket, adding 64 off 32 balls, before the former became 'Man of the Match' Tye's first victim of the evening. Smith was then dismissed by another Smith — Dwayne that is — to depart for 43. All-rounder Ben Stokes and wicketkeeper-batsman MS Dhoni couldn't add much to the total, with Pune finding themselves in a sticky situation at 120/5.
Manoj Tiwary and Ankit Sharma, on their part, added a useful stand for the sixth wicket, which took RPS to 167 in the final over, before Tye's rampage — the effectiveness of which was rendered by his clever use of the knuckleball — restricted them to a gettable 171.
— Sir Ravindra Jadeja (@SirJadeja) April 14, 2017
Imran Tahir was Pune's trump card. Gujarat launched a calculated assault on him thru McCullum and threw Smith's plans out of whack
— Cricketwallah (@cricketwallah) April 14, 2017
With inputs from PTI
Updated Date: Apr 15, 2017 00:23 AM