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IPL Season 9: Finch helps Gujarat Lions cruise past Kings XI Punjab

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A man of the match performance from Australian opener Aaron Finch allowed the Gujarat Lions to pick up a comfortable win on their IPL debut, beating the Kings XI Punjab by 5 wickets in Mohali in game 3 of Season 9.

After two rather insipid matches to open the tournament, match no.3 offered a bit more of a contest as the Kings XI Punjab won the toss and opted to bat first in Mohali.

 

Punjab's openers Murali Vijay (42) and Manan Vohra (38) got their side off to a good start, adding 52 runs in the powerplay en route to an opening stand worth 78. Indian spinner Ravindra Jadeja removed both openers with Dinesh Karthik showing good awareness to take a catch off an inside edge from Vohra, while Jadeja disturbed Vijay's furniture to inflict a double blow on KXIP.

Kings XI lost their way in the middle overs as Dwayne Bravo came on and proved once again why he is such a lethal bowler in this format, taking 4-22 from his 4 overs to prevent Punjab from running away with the game. Bravo removed Glenn Maxwell (2) and David Miller (15) within the space of three balls, changing the outcome of this game rather dramatically as Punjab looked on course for a score well in excess of 180-190.

Wriddhiman Saha was forced to consolidate at the wrong time, and his 20 off 25 balls took the sting out of Punjab's game, and despite some big hitting from Marcus Stoinis (33 from 22 balls), Punjab only made their way to 161-6.

The Lions didn't have an ideal start, losing Brendon McCullum for naught in Sandeep Sharma's opening over, but they rebounded brilliantly to add 57 runs in the powerplay, losing Suresh Raina for a 9-ball 20 midway through the 6th over.

Finch had played some streaky cricket early on, but soon hit his strike, making a match winning 74 from 47 balls with the help of 12 boundaries. His dismissal in the 12th over gave Kings XI a ray of hope, but Dinesh Karthik showed his experience in this format, making a crucial unbeaten 41 from 26 balls to guide the Lions to their maiden win.

The Lions are in action again, taking on this season's other newcomers Rising Pune Supergiants in Rajkot on Thursday, while the Kings XI make the short journey down to Delhi to take on the Daredevils on Friday.

Teams:

Kings XI Punjab: Manan Vohra, Murali Vijay, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Glenn Maxwell, David Miller (c), Axar Patel, Marcus Stoinis, Pardeep Sahu, Mitchell Johnson, Mohit Sharma, Sandeep Sharma

Gujarat Lions: Aaron Finch, Brendon McCullum, Suresh Raina, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Ishan Kishan, Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, James Faulkner, Praveen Kumar, Pradeep Sangwan, Sarabjit Ladda

Mini Scorecard:

Kings XI Punjab 161/6 (20 overs, 8.05rpo)

M Vijay 42 (34) D Bravo 4-22 (4)

M Vohra 38 (23) R Jadeja 2-30 (4)

Gujarat Lions 162/5 (17.4 overs, 9.16rpo)

A Finch 74 (47) S Sharma 1-21 (3)

D Karthik 41* (26) M Stoinis 1-27 (2)

Gujarat Lions win by 5 wickets