Chasing 173 can get dicey on even the flattest of decks. A couple of wickets at the top can change the complexion of the game. But Dwayne Smith and Brendon McCullum ensured that Gujarat were in complete control of the chase from the word go. Their partnership of 94 at the top ensured that there was no hiccup as Gujarat cruised home with 2 overs to spare.
Coming out all guns blazing, Smith picked 15 off Ankit Sharma in the first over itself with two fours and a huge six. Not one to be left behind, McCullum got his first six in the second over off Lockie Ferguson. Smith though followed up with a boundary as GL’s score read 27/0 after 2 overs.
The third over was slightly quiet with McCullum picking a single boundary off Shardul Thakur. The pacer even dropped a stinger coming back off McCullum’s bat, but that was not really catchable at that pace.
Smith somewhat made up for the quiet third over as he hit two boundaries off the fourth over with Ferguson at the receiving end. 11 runs off the fourth, the fifth from Ben Stokes was superb. He gave away just 2 runs.
But then calamity struck Pune as Steven Smith brought Imran Tahir into the attack. McCullum hit the leg-spinner for two boundaries and a six as Tahir leaked 15 runs. Smith decided to go for two boundaries off Rahul Chahar next.
With the score reading 71/0 after 7 overs, Tahir came in for his second over. And that was when both McCullum and Smith took turns to thrash Tahir. They picked 20 runs from the over as McCullum hit two boundaries and a six while Smith hit a boundary.
Smith turned to Thakur again in the 9th over and he finally answered his captain’s call off the fifth ball by dismissing Smith (47), caught by Rahul Chahar at third-man. By then, the duo had put on 94 runs off 54 balls.
McCullum followed soon after in the 12th over, stumped by Dhoni off Chahar for 49. But by then, it was a walk in the park for the likes of skipper Suresh Raina as Gujarat needed 70 runs off 53 balls.