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IPL PHOTOS: Finch, McCullum help Gujarat Lions ease past Pune

Last updated on: April 15, 2016 08:14 IST

IMAGE: Aaron Finch of Gujarat Lions raises his bat on getting fifty runs as Brendon McCullum congratulates him. Photograph: BCCI.

Gujarat Lions defeated Rising Pune Supergiants by seven wickets to register their second win in the Indian Premier League, on Thursday.

Aaron Finch and Brendon McCullum played destructive knocks up the order to guide the Lions to a comprehensive victory. 

- Scorecard

Chasing a below-par 164 for victory, Gujarat Lions rode on a powerful batting display to overhaul the target with two overs to spare.

Their second consecutive win propelled them to the top of the points table.

IMAGE: Faf Du Plessis of Rising Pune Supergiants hits a shot during the Indian Premier League match against Gujarat Lions. Photograph: BCCI.

Earlier, Faf du Plessis smashed a quick half century before Gujarat Lions pulled things back with a fine death bowling display to restrict Rising Pune Supergiants to 163 for five. 

Du Plessis (69) and Kevin Pietersen (37) were going great guns after the fall of Ajinkya Rahane (21) to raise hopes of a 200-plus score for Supergiants at one stage, but the Lions pulled things back with brilliant death bowling from Ravindra Jadeja, who finished with impressive figures off 2-18 from his four overs. 

Du Plessis was the aggressive among the duo as he smashed five boundaries and four sixes during his 43-ball knock, while Pietersen's runs came off 31 balls with the help of two fours and one hit over the fence. 

Just when it seemed the duo would run away with the innings, Dwayne Bravo (1-43) bowled Pietersen with a slower delivery off the last ball of the 14th over.

Du Plessis, however, kept his aggressive attitude and smashed Pravin Tambe for a four and six off consecutive balls before perishing to the next ball in search of one too many. The South African was stumped by Dinesh Karthik as he went for another huge hit.

IMAGE: Ravindra Jadeja nad Suresh Raina of Gujrat Lions celebrate the wicket of Mitchell Marsh of Rising Pune Supergiants. Photograph: BCCI.

Opting to bat, the Supergiants were off to a flying start, with Rahane playing some great cricketing shots, which included two consecutive boundaries of Shadab Jakati in the second over. 

Rahane looked in great touch and lofted Praveen Tambe (2-33) over mid-on for another four. But a ball later the veteran leg-spinner had his man when he foxed Rahane with a quicker delivery to catch his young Mumbai teammate plumb in front of the wicket.

Rahane's dismissal hardly had any impact on the Supergiants scoring rate as Du Plessis and Pietersen went about their business in style, stitching 86 runs for the second wicket in just 61 balls.

IMAGE: Rising Pune Supergiants captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni plays a shot during the Indian Premier League match against Gujarat Lions. Photograph: BCCI.

Jadeja then dismissed Steven Smith and Mitchell Marsh in consecutive overs to pull things back for the Gujarat Lions.

Towards the end, Supergiants skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (22 not out off 10) proved why he is regarded as the best finisher of the game as he struck Bravo for two boundaries and one six to pick up 20 runs off the last over and take his team past the 160-run mark.

IMAGE: Aaron Finch and Brendon Mc Cullum of Gujarat Lions during the IPL match against Rising Pune Supergiants in Rajkot. Photograph: BCCI.

Coming out to chase the target, Finch (50 off 36) and McCullum (49 off 31) got Gujarat Lions off to a breezy start, sharing 85 runs for the opening stand in just 8.3 overs. 

Finch was the initiator as he used his power to great effect and smashed young leg-spinner Murugan Ashwin (2-31) for four boundaries in the sixth over. He then took on Rajat Bhatia and clobbered the medium-pacer for two sixes in the next over to make his intentions clear. 

Finch raced to his 50 in just 33 balls, with the help of seven boundaries and two sixes, but soon after perished trying to hit another boundary, caught by Ishant Shama at fine-leg off Murugan Ashwin. 

After Finch's dismissal, McCullum took the onus on him and struck Ravichandran Ashwin for a boundary and a six in the 12th over before getting a life when Dhoni missed a regulation stumping off the next ball. 

But the missed stumping did not cost Supergiants much as McCullum got out soon, caught by Du Plessis off Ishant Sharma, as the batsman went for an extravagant shot. 

By that time, though, the damage had already been done.

Thereafter, Gujarat Lions captain Suresh Raina (24) and Dwayne Bravo (22 off 10) played sensibly to take the hosts home with 12 balls to spare. 

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