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IPL Season 9: Finch, McCullum power Gujarat Lions to easy win

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Another Aaron Finch half-century, and his 85-run opening partnership with Brendon McCullum, who chipped in with a 31-ball 49, helped the Gujarat Lions register their second win in Season 9 of the Indian Premier League, beating fellow newbies Rising Pune Supergiants by 7 wickets in yet another comfortable chase this season.

The Supergiants won the toss and elected to bat first as Rajkot played host to an IPL game for the first time this season. Pune got off to a good start with South African skipper Faf du Plessis leading the way with an excellent 69 from just 43 balls. His innings was etched with 5 boundaries and 4 sixes. Du Plessis got good support from Ajinkya Rahane (21) and Kevin Pietersen (37), though in hind sight both batsmen should ideally have made better use of good batting conditions and scored at a brisker pace.

 

Ravindra Jadeja was the star with the ball for the Lions, getting through his 4 overs for just 18 runs, whilst chipping in with a couple of useful wickets, that of Steven Smith (5) and Mitchell Marsh (7). This after Pravin Tambe removed both Pune openers.

MS Dhoni provided some later fireworks, smashing 22 off 10 balls to take Pune past 150, to what on paper seemed a competitive total of 163-5.

Finch and McCullum though made lightwork of the run chase, adding 62 runs in the powerplay, and unlike their opponents, continued to pile on the runs at a steady pace, reaching 100 in 11 overs.

Leg spinner Murugan Ashwin removed Finch and later Suresh Raina for a steady 24, but Dwayne Bravo ensured that there was no late cause for concern, smashing an unbeaten 22 from 10 balls, matching MS Dhoni's earlier effort to wrap up a comfortable win.

Mini Scorecard:

Rising Pune Supergiants 163/5 (20 overs, 8.15rpo)

F du Plessis 69 (43) R Jadeja 2-18 (4)

K Pietersen 37 (31) P Tambe 2-33 (4)

Gujarat Lions 164/3 (18 overs, 9.11rpo)

A Finch 50 (36) M Ashwin 2-31 (4)

B McCullum 49 (31) I Sharma 1-39 (4)

Gujarat Lions win by 7 wickets

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