Gujarat Lions took off from the bottom of the VIVO IPL 2017 standings after they defeated Royal Challengers Bangalore by 7 wickets at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium on Thursday night. Having won the toss and put RCB in to bat, the Lions did well to bowl out the hosts for 134 off the last ball of the innings. In reply, Aaron Finch cut loose from the minute he walked out to bat, scored the fastest half-century by a Gujarat Lions batsman, and set the foundation for his team’s successful chase. The Lions got past the finish line with 37 balls to spare.
At the start of their run-chase, the Lions got off the blocks quickly with the opener Ishan Kishan (16 from 11 balls) scoring four boundaries in the first three overs. The leg-spinner Samuel Badree struck twice for the home team when he dismissed Ishan Kishan leg before wicket in the third over and had Brendon McCullum, playing his 100th IPL match, caught at long-on in the fifth over.
In came Aaron Finch, who opened his account with successive sixes off Badree. There was no stopping the Australian as he attacked all the RCB bowlers who ran up to bowl to him. He collected two boundaries off Sreenath Aravind in the sixth over, and hit Yuzvendra Chahal for a six in his first over of the match. Aniket Choudhary came in for plenty of stick in the ninth over as Finch hit him for two boundaries and a six. In the same over, Finch also brought up his first half-century of the season – getting there in 22 balls – and in the process established the record for the fastest half-century by a Gujarat Lions batsman.
Finch continued to make merry as he then collected sixes off successive deliveries off Pawan Negi – hitting the left-arm spinner into the stands beyond long-on. The Australian was dismissed in the 13th over when he attempted to hit Negi into the stands, but found AB de Villiers at long-on; Finch made 72 from 34 balls and hit five boundaries and six sixes. The Lions needed 20 more at this stage, and captain Suresh Raina (34* from 30 balls, 4 fours, 1 six) and Ravindra Jadeja (2*) completed the job without any further damage. The Lions got past the finish line in 13.5 overs.
Earlier in the evening, asked to bat first, RCB got off to a poor start losing three wickets in the spare of four balls. Skipper Virat Kohli’s fierce pull landed down the throat of Aaron Finch at short fine -leg, and two balls later his opening partner Chris Gayle edged Andrew Tye to wicket-keeper Dinesh Karthik. Tye picked up a second wicket in two balls when he found the outside edge of Travis Head’s bat, which was caught by Suresh Raina at slip.
AB de Villiers and Kedar Jadhav kept the Lions bowlers at bay for a period of 4.2 overs, during which time they added 36 runs for the fourth wicket. But both batsmen were dismissed in the space of five deliveries, and RCB once again had two new batsmen at the crease.
Pawan Negi then collected a few quick runs; he collected a couple of boundaries through cheeky late cuts, and then helped himself to two sixes – one on either side of the wicket, and raced to 32 off 18 balls before an attempted pull off debutant Ankit Soni landed in the hands of Basil Thampi at the midwicket boundary. The 40-run partnership between Negi and Mandeep Singh – for the sixth wicket – was the highest of the RCB innings.
The hosts were 35-3 in the first six overs, slumped to 107-7 in the next nine overs, and could only add 27-3 in the final five overs. RCB eventually folded up for 134 – with Yuzvendra Chahal being run out off the last ball of the innings.
For the visitors, Andrew Tye returned with his most-economical spell in T20 cricket; not only did he pick up three wickets, but he also conceded only 12 runs in his four overs. Ravindra Jadeja finished with figures of 2-28, while Basil Thampi (who picked up the important wicket of Kohli), Soni and James Faulkner chipped in with a wicket each.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: 134 (Pawan Negi 32, Kedar Jadhav 31, Andrew Tye 3-12, Ravindra Jadeja 2-28) lost to Gujarat Lions: 135-3 in 13.5 Overs (Aaron Finch 72, Suresh Raina 34*, Samuel Badree 2-29) by 7 wickets.
Man of the Match: Andrew Tye