Aaron Finch’s 74, Dinesh Karthik’s unbeaten 41 and Dwayne Bravo's four-for help IPL debutants get off to a winning start with 5-wicket victory over Kings XI Punjab
Mohali: The Indian Premier League’s (IPL) ninth edition witnessed its first close encounter on Monday with debutants Gujarat Lions eventually prevailing over Kings XI Punjab at the PCA Stadium here.
After the first two matches of the tournament saw one-sided contests, the Kings XI Punjab vs Gujarat Lions match turned out to be an exciting contest with the debutants chasing down Kings’s 161-6 with five wickets in hand and 14 balls to spare.
Gujarat Lions’ Aaron Finch en route his brilliant 74 against Kings XI Punjab at the PCA Stadium in Mohali. Pic/AFP
The Lions were cruising at one stage with Aaron Finch (47-ball 74) at the crease. However, his dismissal helped Punjab stage a fighback.
The Lions were off to a disastrous start after losing Brendon McCullum for zero. The former New Zealand skipper, who recently retired from international cricket, disappointed the fans who had turned up to watch him as he was stumped off medium-pacer Sandeep Sharma while trying to step out and poke at a length delivery.
However, Gujarat skipper Suresh Raina stabilised the innings along with opener Finch, who was going hammer and tongs at the other end.
Raina (20) and Finch put on a 51-run second-wicket partnership before the skipper holed out to Mitchell Johnson, who completed a well-judged, running catch from mid-on. Finch looked visibly disappointed after losing his wicket to leg-spinner Pradeep Sahu. Sahu got just the right amount of turn that proved to be enough for Finch to drag his backfoot out of the crease leaving wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha to do the rest.
Gujarat’s hopes were now pinned on Dinesh Karthik and Ravindra Jadeja to see the team through, but the latter’s run out tilted the momentum in Punjab’s favour. Karthik did well to take that momentum back with a power-packed 26-ball 41.
Earlier, Kings XI Punjab opening batsmen Murali Vijay (42 off 34) and Manan Vohra (38 in 23) provided a 78-run stand in 8.2 overs.
Then Dwayne Bravo (4-22) and left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja (2-30) led Gujarat’s fightback as the hosts lost four wickets for 102 runs in 12 overs. Later, Australian all-rounder Marcus Stoinis (33 in 22 balls) and wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha (20) did the repair work and took the total to 161-6.
Kings XI Punjab: 161-6 (Murali Vijay 42, Manan Vohra 38, Marcus Stoinis 33; Dwayne Bravo 4-22, Ravindra Jadeja 2-30) lose to Gujarat Lions: 162-5 in 17.4 overs (Aaron Finch 74, Dinesh Karthik 41 n o, Suresh Raina 20; Sandeep Sharma 1-21) by five wickets