Lions ‘roar’ at Mohali as they kept the Kings’ in check : Carribean Lion, Dwyane Bravo of the new IPL franchisee, Gujarat Lions (GL), did all that he could do to keep the new-look Kings’ XI Punjab (KXIP), led by the South African, David Miller, under check.
Raina, skipper of GL won the toss and opted to field.
KXIP openers, Murali Vijay and Manan Vohra stated very well and looked to score big. They stayed together to put up 78 runs in 82 overs for the first wicket, before Ravindra Jadeja struck and removed Vohra (38), caught by the wicker-keeper, Dinesh Karthik.
Jadeja struck again in the fourth delivery of the 11th over and removed the other opener, Murali Vijay, who had notched up 42 runs off 34 deliveries with 5 fours and a six. The team score read 91/2 in 10.4 overs. KXIP looked to score around 200 runs.
From then on it was Dwayne Bravo show. In a spate of eight deliveries, he accounted for Glenn Maxwell (2) and the KXIP skipper, David Miller (15).
A 45-run partnership in 7.3 overs for the fifth-wicket between the wicker-keeper, Wriddhiman Saha (20) and Marcus Stoinis (33) took the team’s total to 157 runs before Saha was removed by Bravo, caught by Jadeja.
Axar Patel’s 4 runs took the team tally to 161 runs for the loss of 6 wickets in 20 overs.
Bravo, accounting for Miller, Maxwell, Saha and Stoins, finished with the analysis of 4-0-22-4 and in the process became the first bowler to claim 300 wickets in T20 format of the game. Jadeja finished with 4-0-30-2.
Chasing 162 for a win, GL reached their target in 17.4 overs with the opener Aaron Finch scoring 74 runs off just 47 deliveries aided by 12 fours at 157.44 strike rate, before being stumped with Saha off Pradeep Sahu.
The big man from Kiwiland, Brendon McCullum could not open his account as he was also stumped by Saha off Sandeep Sharma early on.
A quick-fire 20 runs off 9 deliveries from GL skipper, Suresh Raina and a 26-ball 41 runs by Dinesh Karthik ensured a 5-wicket victory for the Lions with 14 deliveries to spare.
Sandeep Sharma, Mitchell Johnson, Marcus Stoinis and Pradeep Sahu, claimed a wicket each.
Aaron Finch was awarded the Player of the Match.
Speaking at the post-match presentation, Finch said, “”Nice to start off the tournament well, but I think all credit goes to our bowlers. It was a beautiful wicket, there was some grass on it and it skidded on really well. I shanked a couple, got lucky, but in T20 you need a bit of luck early on. I just didn”t perform well enough to last a long time in my previous franchises”.
Leading an IPL team for the first time, an excited Suresh Raina said, “We pulled it [back] really well. Bravo, PK, Faulkner, Jadeja bowled really well. At one stage we thought they would get to 200. We have a couple of international captains in our side, and Hodgy has a lot of experience too, and that really made a difference.”