Gujarat Lions followed Rising Pune Supergiants in starting their Indian Premier League campaign with a victory in Mohali on Monday night. Opting to bowl first after winning the toss, Suresh Raina’s decision looked to have backfired before Dwayne Bravo and Ravindra Jadeja pulled things back to put the brakes on cruising Kings XI Punjab innings and restrict them to 161 for six in their 20 overs. (Match Highlights | Report)
Bravo finished with four for 22, including the scalps of Glenn Maxwell and David Miller in the space of three balls, as he also went past 300 Twenty20 wickets — 302 — to become the leading wicket-taker in the format.
“We bowled very well – (Dwayne) Bravo, PK (Praveen Kumar), (James) Faulkner, (Ravindra) Jadeja. At one stage I thought they will get 200, but they bowled well,” said a happy Raina during the post-match presentation. (Match in pics)
However, Gujarat’s chase always looked in good control, thanks to Aaron Finch’s 74 off 47 balls that earned him the Man of the Match award. “Finch batted well, wicket was very good, and credit goes to all players,” Raina said after his side’s five-wicket win.
Finch was ecstatic with his team’s victory but credited bowlers for “pulling it back”.
“It’s nice to start the tournament well from the team’s point of view. Credit to the bowlers for pulling it back. Excellent wicket and the ball just skidded on under lights. We thought it might get slower but it didn’t,” Finch said.
Losing skipper David Miller rued batting failure but maintained Kings XI will return to the winning ways.
“We didn’t have enough on the board. 180 would have been nice. We were always on the back foot from there. And Finch’s knock made it very difficult. First six overs were rushed to be honest.
“Still 13 games to go. It’s not how you start but how you finish,” Miller said.