Gujarat Lions’ Aussie opener scores unbeaten 67 off 54 balls to beat Mumbai Indians in last-ball finish at Wankhede
Mumbai Indians' struggles at home continued as Rohit Sharma & Co lost their second consecutive match of the Indian Premier League-9 at the Wankhede Stadium on Saturday. Aaron Finch struck his third 50 in a row and also led the IPL debutants Gujarat Lions to a hat-trick of wins with a three-wicket victory over MI, who scored 143-8 thanks to Parthiv Patel's 34 and late surge from debutant Krunal Pandya (unbeaten 20) and Tim Southee's 25.
Gujarat Lions' Aaron Finch (left) slams one en route his unbeaten 54-ball 67 as Mumbai Indians' wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel looks on during their IPL-9 match at Wankhede Stadium on Saturday. Pic/PTI
Finch on fire
Finch (67 off 54 balls) did not let the fans miss Brendon McCullum-like big hits after the New Zealander was brilliantly caught, diving in front by Hardik Pandya at backward point for six. Finch's cut shot, bisecting the point and gully fielders for a classical boundary to raise his half-century was the one of the many memorable strokes he struck last night.
Gujarat Lions' pacer Dhawal Kulkarni (left) celebrates the dismissal of Mumbai Indians' skipper Rohit Sharma with teammate Suresh Raina during their IPL-9 match at Wankhede on Saturday. Pic/Atul Kamble
Finch and Suresh Raina timed the ball sweetly and the right-left combination created enough trouble for MI bowlers. The hosts threw themselves at every possible opportunity, but with little success as the duo put on 53 for the second
Raina in form
Raina showed glimpses of top form, but his efforts were soon thwarted as Mitchell McClenaghan bumped a short delivery which is Raina's biggest weakness. The southpaw succumbed to it, top edging to wicketkeeper Parthiv for 27.
However, the dismissals of Dinesh Karthik (9) and Dwayne Bravo (2) in the space of three runs gave something to cheer for MI fans. Bravo though was unlucky to be given out caught.
With 13 needed off the last two overs, McClenaghan tightened the screws with wickets of James Faulkner and Praveen Kumar off the penultimate over. A hamstrung Finch along with Mumbai-boy Dhawal Kulkarni held their nerves.
A lot of credit should go to Gujarat Lions skipper Raina for being able to restrict Mumbai Indians to 143-8 in their 20 overs. Praveen Kumar and Kulkarni troubled Mumbai Indians and Raina capitalised on that momentum.
Raina finished Kulkarni inside 10 overs in which he claimed the wickets of MI skipper Rohit Sharma and Hardik Pandya in back-to-back overs to finish with figures of 4-1-19-2. After finishing three overs of Praveen and Kulkarni, Raina wasted no time in introducing James Faulkner and left-arm spinner Shadab Jakati, who was successful in dragging MI's Jos Buttler (16) out of the crease only to be stumped.
He brought Pravin Tambe into the mix too and the leggie straightaway claimed the big wicket Kieron Pollard (1) and then Parthiv (34), who looked set for a big score.
Raina kept Faulkner and Dwayne Bravo for the death overs, but MI's R2 crore-buy Pandya (unbeaten 20 off 11), who made his IPL debut on Saturday, and Tim Southee (25 off 11) took 44 off the last three overs to help MI post a respectable total.
Mumbai Indians 143-8 in 20 overs (P Patel 34, T Southee 25; D Kulkarni 2-19, P Tambe 2-12) lost to Gujarat Lions
147-7 in 20 overs (A Finch 67*, S Raina 27; M McClenaghan 4-21, J Bumrah 2-32) by three wickets