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IPL 9: Steven Smith ton in vain as Gujarat pip Pune in last-ball thriller

Gujarat Lions rode on a collective batting effort to edge past Rising Pune Supergiants by three wickets in a nail-biting match at Pune's Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium on Friday

Pune: Steven Smith's first T20 century went in vain as Gujarat Lions beat Rising Pune Supergiants by three wickets off the last ball at the MCA stadium here yesterday.

MS DhoniRising Pune Supergiants captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni lies on the ground after failing to gather a shot during the 2016 Indian Premier League match vs Gujarat Lions at The Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune on Friday. Pic/AFP

Smith hammered 101 from 54 balls (8x4, 5x6) to help Supergiants to 195 for 3, but the hosts' inaccurate bowling did them in once again. Smith's century was nullified by the Lions' opening duo — Brendon McCullum and Dwayne Smith—who scored 93 runs in eight overs. Some costly errors from the hosts' bowlers (read Ashoke Dinda, Thisara Perera) at the death allowed Lions to get past the Supergiants total off the final ball of the game.

The Gujarat Lions have got probably the most feared opening duo in the tournament in Dwayne Smith and Brendon McCullum once again showed their ability to completely dismantle the opposition bowling attack. After a couple of relatively quiet overs up front, where they were able to score just nine runs; Smith-McCullum hammered every bowler that came in to bowl for the next six overs. The sequence of the runs scored for the next six overs was 24, 15, 14, 10, 12 and 9.

McCullum failed to read a slower ball from Rajat Bhatia and top edged it to short fine leg, but by then the damage was already done. Lions had raced to 93 for 1 in 8.1 overs. Smith continued to smack the bowlers around for few more balls before inside edging a Perrera yorker on to the stumps. Smith struck 63 off 37 balls with the help of nine fours and a six. Suresh Raina and Dinesh Karthik then batted sensibly to stitch together 51 runs from 33 balls.

A tidy 18th over by M Ashwin followed by a two-wicket over from Ashoke Dinda kept the Supergiants in the game. And although Lions lost two more wickets in the final over James Faulkner did enough to help Lions cross the line off the last ball of the game, hitting it down to long on when a single was needed. Raina (34 from 28 balls) and Karthik (33 off 20 balls) made important contributions in the latter half of the Lions innings.

With the exception of makeshift opener Saurabh Tiwary being run out for one, the first half was clearly dominated by the Supergiants.

Brief Scores:

Rising Pune Supergiants 195-3 in 20 overs (S Smith 101, A Rahane 53; D Bravo 1-40) lost to Gujarat Lions 196-7 in 20 overs (D Smith 63, B McCullum 43, S Raina 34; A Dinda 2-40, T Perera 2-41) by three wickets

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