New Delhi: Sixth-placed Gujarat Lions are looking to play perfect party spoilers as they thrashed Royal Challengers Bangalore by seven wickets on the back of a whirlwind knock from Aaron Finch at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on Thursday. The Australian hit 72 off 34 balls as Gujarat won the game with 37 balls to spare. This after Andrew Tye and boys put up a brilliant show with the ball to restrict RCB to 134.
Chasing 135 can get dicey as RCB had themselves found out the other night against Kolkata Knight Riders. And Samuel Badree started well for the hosts as he sent back Ishan Kishan (16) and Brendon McCullum (3) to have Gujarat reeling at 23/2 in the 5th over.
But Finch made his intention clear from the word go. He hit Badree for two huge sixes in the first over itself as that started what went on to become a thrilling display of power hitting. Finch was severe on every bowler in sight and was just as lethal off the front and backfoot.
In what turned out to be a stellar show, Finch also managed to bring up the fastest 50 for Gujarat Lions as he reached the mark off just 22 balls with four boundaries and four huge sixes.
RCB skipper Virat Kohli looked at a loss of ideas as the bowlers looked like mere bowling machines. They ran in, bowled it and went back to the mark having been thrashed to the boundary.
Pawan Negi finally dismissed Finch in the 13th over, but the damage had been done by then. Gujarat Lions needed 20 runs when Finch left the crease and skipper Suresh Raina (34* off 30 balls) and Ravindra Jadeja (2* off 4 balls) ensured that GL won with 37 balls to spare.
Raina also regained the orange cap from Gautam Gambhir as he now has 309 runs this season in 8 games at a strike-rate of 141.74.
Even though Basil Thampi was the first to stun the crowd by dismissing Kohli for just 10, it was Tye who changed the course of the match and duly won the Man of the Match award.
Coming in to bowl in the 5th over, he first sent back Chris Gayle (8) and then sent back Travis Head (0) off the very next ball as he was once again on a hat-trick. Although the hat-trick did not come this evening, the damage had been done with RCB reeling at 22/3 in the 5th over.
Kedar Jadhav and AB de Villiers did try to steady the ship with Kedar looking to hit a few lusty blows. But Jadeja struck as Kedar (31) looked to late cut a straight one. Kedar missed and Jadeja hit.
De Villiers (5) left the very next over as a misunderstanding between Mandeep Singh and ABD saw the latter being run out. Jadeja hit the bull’s eye at the batsman’s end. RCB’s score read 60/5 in the 10th over and that was the nail in the head.
Negi did hit a few lusty blows, scoring 32 off 19 balls, but it was never going to be enough.