In a battle of newbies, a strong side under Suresh Raina registered a convincing win with 12 balls remaining in the match.
After winning the toss, Mahendra Singh Dhoni needed a good total against a batting line-up which has the likes of Brendon McCullum, Aaron Finch and Raina.
Rising Pune Supergiants' 163 was short by some 25 runs. But RPS were to blame themselves. After reaching 130+ in 15 overs, their innings were folded for a below-par total in a batting friendly Rajkot pitch.
Lions started their chase to a roaring start with Finch and McCullum toying with Supergiants bowling attack. And they eventually won the match without much fuss as Dwayne Bravo provided the finishing touch.
GUJARAT LIONS INNINGS
Over 18.1 || Score 164/3 (Bravo 22; Jadeja 4); Target 164
A wide delivery from RP Singh and the second successive win for Suresh Raina's Lions with 12 balls to spare.
Over 18 || Score 163/3 (Bravo 22; Jadeja 4); Target 164
An eventful over from Rajat Bhatia. A dot ball to start the over, the a single, followed by a leg bye.
A dot ball, and a free-hit from a front-foot no-ball. Two runs from the free-hit as Steven Smith had a rare fumble at long on.
Then, Dwayne Bravo hit a six. That makes Gujarat Lions one run shy of second win. 12 runs from the over.
Over 17 || Score 151/3 (Bravo 14; Jadeja 2); Target 164
Looked like there's still drama left in the match. Suresh Raina got himself out, stumped. Good delivery nonetheless from Murugan Ashwin.
WICKET: Suresh Raina st MS Dhoni b Murugan Ashwin 24 (24b)
That happened off the very first ball of Murugan's last over. Ravindra Jadeja, the new man, faced a dot ball and a wide before opening his account.
Four runs from the over, with the fifth ball requiring third umpire's attention for a run-out chance. Murugan Ashwin's figures: 4-0-31-2.
Over 16 || Score 147/2 (Raina 24; Bravo 13); Target 164
Dwayne Bravo, who had a average day with ball, toyed with Ishant Sharma and hit three successive fours.
The over started with a single to Suresh Raina, then the West Indian displayed an array of stroke making. Pure genius.
The second ball was picked from way outside the leg stump and lofted over the cover, for a four. It was followed by a glance, for another four.
Then the third four, this time a brutal hit over cover.
Two more singles and 15 runs from the over.
Gujarat Lions need another 17 runs from four overs. Time-out.
Over 15 || Score 132/2 (Raina 22; Bravo 0); Target 164
Ravichandran Ashwin completed his four overs spell. Started his final brilliantly, with three dot balls. The first one almost bounce onto the stumps.
Two runs off the fourth ball with a chance of run out, but the throw at Dhoni, the wicket-keeper was way off target and Suresh Raina was given a life.
A single, then a gentle push from Dwayne Bravo which almost carried to Ajinkya Rahane at mid-wicket. Three runs from the over. Ashwin's figure: 4-0-26-0.
Over 14 || Score 129/2 (Raina 19; Bravo 0); Target 164
Ishant Sharma provided the much needed break, by removing Brendon McCullum with his first ball of a new spell. Change of pace, and a short delivery ended up with McCullum getting a top-edged. Good catch at cover by Faf du Plessis.
WICKET: Brendon McCullum c Faf du Plessis b Ishant Sharma 49 (31b)
Dwayne Bravo is the new man. Nine runs from the over, as Suresh Raina, despite losing a wicket, continued to play his attacking game. He hit the fifth delivery for a four, through cover. Brilliant timing.
Over 13 || Score 120/1 (McCullum 49; Raina 11); Target 164
A good over, some comfort for the fielding side. Six runs.
Rajat Bhatia returned after a long time for his second over. A single to start the over to Suresh Raina, which was followed by five more singles.
Over 12 || Score 114/1 (McCullum 46; Raina 8); Target 164
Ravichandran Ashwin, being manhandled by Brendon McCullum.
The over started with a single to Suresh Raina. Then, McCullum took a two, before a dot ball.
But the dot ball prompted the former Kiwi skipper to change the gear, and hit the fourth ball for a four. Bad delivery, full toss.
The next delivery was however a good delivery, a carrom ball. But it was hit for a huge six over long on.
Then, MS Dhoni messed up a stumping chance. 13 runs from the over and Gujarat Lions now need another 50 runs from 48 balls.
Over 11 || Score 101/1 (McCullum 34; Raina 7); Target 164
Murugan Ashwin continued for his third over. And a busy one.
A single to start the over, then a 2, which was followed by three singles. Then, two byes to make it a 8-run over.
Lions need 63 from 54 balls.
Over 10 || Score 93/1 (McCullum 32; Raina 3); Target 164
Ravichandran Aswhin in tandem with his namesake. Six runs from the over.
A dot to start the over to Brendon McCullum. Then a single. A double to Suresh Raina, which was followed by two wides.
A single, then two dot balls.
Lions need need 71 runs from 60 balls.
Over 9 || Score 87/1 (McCullum 30; Raina 1); Target 164
Finally a wicket for MS Dhoni's Supergiants.
Murugan Ashwin, who conceded 20 runs in his previous over, removed dangerous Aaron Finch. Great catch at deep square leg by Ishant Sharma.
WICKET: Aaron Finch c Ishant Sharma b Murugan shwin 50 (36b)
That happened after two dot balls into a new over. Skipper Suresh Raina, new man.
Two runs from the over.
Over 8 || Score 85/0 (Finch 50; McCullum 29); Target 164
Another big over for the batting side, even as MS Dhoni brought in Mitchell Marsh into the attack. 10 runs, which included a four.
In between, Aaron Finch reached his firty off 33 balls, his second in two matches.
A single to start the over, the a 2 to Finch. A single then Brendon McCullum hit his second four, through third man area. Two singles more and 10 runs from it.
Over 7 || Score 75/0 (Finch 46; McCullum 23); Target 164
Rajat Bhatia on. And his military medium pace deliveries have been bludgeoned.
A single to Brendon McCullum to start the over, then a dot to Aaron Finch. Then the Aussie oponer picked Bhatia's slower delivery and pocketed into the stands.
Two dot balls, but the last ball of the over was lofted high for another six. Ajinkya Rahane at long-on tried to pluck a catch out, but to no avail. 13 runs from the over.
Over 6 || Score 62/0 (Finch 34; McCullum 22); Target 164
Another Ashwin into the attack. But the difference is all the more revealing. Murugan leaked 16 runs
The over started with a single to Brendon McCullum, then Aaron Finch hit back-to-back fours -- first one pulled into deep mid-wicket boundary, and the second one sweetly swept.
Three wides as Murugan tried to followed a batsman making room.
It was followed by a four, a dot and a four. Huge over. 20 runs.
Lions now need 102 runs from 14 overs.
Over 5 || Score 42/0 (Finch 18; McCullum 22); Target 164
That's Ravichandran Ashwin at his best.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni introduced his strike bowler and the experienced spinner utilised the whole width of the pitch; probing, charging the batsmen.
A single to Aaron Finch, then a rare 3 runs. Then four singles.
Over 4 || Score 38/0 (Finch 17; McCullum 19); Target 164
Ishant Sharma continued for his second over, and was hit for a four off the very first ball.
Aaron Finch, who was playing second fiddle to Brendon McCullum, punished the loose delivery from Ishant, over point.
Two singles, then Finch played a lofted cut shot for the second four of the over, and he reached 1000 IPL runs in 14 matches.
A dot ball from Ishant. And an gentle dab towards mid-on fielder for a single. 11 runs from the over.
Gujarat Lions need another 126 runs from 16 overs.
Over 3 || Score 27/0 (Finch 7; McCullum 18); Target 164
Stand and deliver stuff from Brendon McCullum. Even the sound 'tonked'.
RP Singh continued for his second delivery, and with three fielders behind the square. A dot ball, then McCullum tonked the second for a six over point. A dot ball, then...
Another six. This time over mid-off. A single followed and RP Singh stopped in the run up. A single to end the over. 14 runs from it though.
Over 2 || Score 13/0 (Finch 6; McCullum 5); Target 164
Ishant Sharma on and Aaron Finch whipped. No chance for fielder at square leg. Four!
Good response from Ishant Sharma. Two dot balls, both yorker lengths. A single followed off the fourth ball.
Another delivery on the leg, and a leg bye. It was followed by a dot ball, making it a 6-run over.
Gujarat Lions need another 151 runs from 18 overs.
Over 1 || Score 7/0 (Finch 1; McCullum 5); Target 164
RP Singh, what a delivery to start with. The ball just about get enough movement. But Aaron Finch lucky not to have given out. Ball on line, and hit the front pad on the line. And the batsman not offering a shot. Strange.
A dot ball followed, then another in-swinging delivery from the left hander. Missing the line though. A leg bye. Finch out of strike.
Then, Brendon McCullum came down the pitch and dismissed the good length delivery over the mid-off fielder for a four. No respect.
A single followed and a shout of run-out as Steve Smith had a direct hit on non-striker's end.
A single and seven runs from the over.
RISING PUNE SUPERKINGS INNINGS
Over 20 || Score 163/5 (Dhoni 22; Bhatia 0)
The skipper at work and what a way to finish the innings. Dwayne Bravo, who has become the gold-standard for death bowling, was taken for 20 runs.
The over started with four with MS Dhoni getting a thick edge. A two, followed by another two. Brilliant running.
Then, Dhoni muscled the fourth delivery over long-on boundary for a six. Another unbelievable running for two runs.
Dhoni ended the innings with a four.
Over 19 || Score 143/5 (Dhoni 2; Bhatia 0)
Another couple of brilliant overs from the fielding team. First Dwayne Bravo leaked only five runs, then it was followed by a 2-run wicket taking over from Ravindra Jadeja.
Jadeja, after troubling Mitchell Marsh, clean bowled the Aussie all-rounder with a flipper.
WICKET: Mitchell Marsh b Ravindra Jadeja 7 (11b)
That happened in the fourth delivery. Rajat Bhatia is the new man.
Over 17 || Score 136/4 (Dhoni 1; Marsh 1)
What an over from Ravindra Jadeja. Two runs and a wicket.
Steven Smith, after blocking the first ball for a dot, tried lofting the second one. But the widish delivery forced him to reach out the ball, and it somehow took the power and momentum of the swing. A comfortable catch at cover by James Faulkner.
WICKET: Steven Smith c James Faulkner b Ravindra Jadeja 5 (6b)
Mitchell Marsh is the new man.
Over 16 || Score 134/3 (Smith 5; Dhoni 1)
What an eventful over from Pravin Tambe. The over started with a four and six with Faf du Plessis picking the spinner well. Or, it looked like.
Tambe had the last laugh as du Plessis missed the line of the third ball, and Dinesh Kartik completed an easy stumping.
WICKET: Faf du Plessis st Dinesh Karthik b Pravin Tambe 69 (43b)
13 runs and a wicket from the over. Skipper MS Dhoni is the new man. And Tambe completed his spell. His figures: 4-0-33-2.
Over 15 || Score 121/2 (du Plessis 59; Smith 3)
Another good over for the fielding side as James Faulkner conceded eight runs from his second over. Busy over.
In between, MS Dhoni might have committed a blunder by not promoting himself ahead of Steven Smith.
Over 14 || Score 113/2 (du Plessis 54; Smith 0)
Dwyane Bravo into the attack after a long time. Good effort from the West Indian to keep quiet Faf du Plessis. And good fielding from the skipper Suresh Raina too.
It was a good over until the fifth ball, but that sixth ball made it a superb. A classic Bravo slower delivery which got a faint inside edge before crashing into the stumps.
WICKET: Kevin Pietersen b Dwayne Bravo 37 (31b)
Two runs and a wicket. Steven Smith is the new man. Captain giving company to captain.
Over 13 || Score 111/1 (du Plessis 53; Pietersen 36)
Shadab Jakati on for his final over. A single to start the over, to KP.
Then, Faf du Plessis dispatched a fuller delivery for a four.It was followed by a single, a dot ball, then a single.
Du Plessis his the last ball of the over for a four to notch up his fifty, off 33 balls. 11 runs from the over. And the RPS duo has stitched an unbroken 84-run stand in 9.1 overs.
And Jakati ended his spell, for figures of 4-0-40-0.
Time for technical time-out.
Over 12 || Score 100/1 (du Plessis 44; Pietersen 34)
Suresh Raina introduced James Faulkner, the shrewd Aussie paceman, into the attack. The over started with a four, with KP hitting a beautiful late cut.
Three singles followed, then a dot ball to make it a seven-run over. KP, trying to cream the fifth ball, almost lost his wicket with Raina getting a tough chance at mid-off.
Over 11 || Score 93/1 (du Plessis 43; Pietersen 28)
Change of ends for Shadab Jakati too. Suresh Raina brought in the slow left-arm spinner into the attack, and a busy over.
The over started with a dot ball to Faf du Plessis, then a good fielding at long-on boundary from James Faulkner restricted a sure four to a double, and du Plessis rued.
Four singles from the remaining four balls. Six runs in total.
Over 10 || Score 87/1 (du Plessis 39; Pietersen 26)
Another good over for the bowling side. Pravin Tambe conceded five runs -- three singles and a two -- thus stemming the flow of runs in Rajkot.
In his three overs, Tambe has so fare leaked 20 runs for the lone wicket of the match.
Over 9 || Score 82/1 (du Plessis 37; Pietersen 23)
Faf du Plessis and Kevin Pietersen completed a fifty-run partnership giving Rising Pune Supergiants a good start to the innings after the departure of Ajinkya Rahane.
Ravindra Jadeja returned for his second over and the spinner leaked six runs, two two's and two singles.
Over 8 || Score 76/1 (du Plessis 34; Pietersen 20)
Wicket-taker Pravin Tambe continued for his second over. And a decent spell from the leg spinner, which was spoilt by a last ball four.
Three singles off the first three singles, then KP took a 2.
A single followed, then Faf du Plessis played a well-timed cover drive for a four. 10 runs from the over.
Over 7 || Score 66/1 (du Plessis 28; Pietersen 16)
Local favourite Ravindra Jadeja into the attack, and a big one for the batting side. Nine runs from the over, which included a toweing six.
The over started with a single to Faf du Plessis, then a dot ball.
KP took a single off the third ball, then another dot ball.
The South African T20 captain returned and hit that six. Smoked! over sightscreen. A single to end the over.
Over 6 || Score 57/1 (du Plessis 20; Pietersen 15)
Dwayne Bravo into the attack. But the 'champion' received a rude welcome from KP, with a six over the square leg boundary. Wild swing but effective one.
Two singles followed even as the West Indian continued to mix his slower delivery.
Then, Faf du Plessis showed his hitting prowess, off the front foot. A six over the long-off boundary. Classic.
A single followed, and 16 runs from the over.
Over 5 || Score 41/1 (du Plessis 12; Pietersen 7)
The arrival of KP in the centre, at least, allowed Faf du Plessis to take the charge. Playing the role of enforcer. But the 'former' England batsman is not to be bowed down or shied away.
Shadab Jakati continued for his second over, with KP taking a single off the very first ball. Then, du Plessis hit the first six of the match, over the mid-on boundary. A bye as the South Africa missed the line of the ball, and wicket-keeper also lost the track.
Then, KP timed his shot on the leg to perfection for his first four.
A missed run-out chance followed, then a dot to end the over. 13 runs from the over.
Over 4 || Score 28/1 (du Plessis 6; Pietersen 1)
And with that arrived Pravin Tambe, the 44-year-old fighter. The leg-break bowler started with two dot balls, then Ajinkya Rahane played a lofted shot over the mid-on fielder for a four.
Then, a dot ball later, the leggie removed Rahane. LBW. Back-foot. The straighter delivery stayed lowed and trapped an out of position batsman in front.
WICKET: Ajinkya Rahane lbw b Pravin Tambe 21 (17b)
KP is the new man, and got into the act off the very first ball. A single, though. Five runs and a wicket from the over.
Over 3 || Score 23/0 (Rahane 17; du Plessis 6)
Praveen Kumar continued for his second over. A dot to start over to Ajinkya Rahane. Another dot ball, then Rahane played a cut shot for a single.
Then, some complaining from the bowler as Faf du Plessis found a lucky four through the cover. Fielder there could have done a better job.
A single followed as the South African gently played on the on side. Ajinkya Rahane then flicked the last ball of the over, for another single. Seven runs from the over.
All in all, it looked a batting top.
Over 2 || Score 16/0 (Rahane 15; du Plessis 1)
Suresh Raina introduced Shadab Jakati into the attack. They had spent time at the now suspended CSK. A dot ball to start the over, to Ajinkya Rahane.
A single followed, then a dot ball to Faf du Plessis. Then, a ball later Rahane played a a straight drive off the back foot, for a four. It was followed by a pull shot, another four.
The over ended with a gentle push towards mid-on. 11 runs from the over.
Over 1 || Score 5/0 (Rahane 5; du Plessis 0)
Praveen Kumar started the proceedings and he managed to move the ball, and Ajinkya Rahane blocked it. The very next ball, -- wide and short -- was hit through covers, for a four.
It was followed by a decent delivery, which Rahane ran down the third man for a single. Then, Faf du Plessis played out the remaining deliveries for naught. Five runs from the over.
Thus the bustling city of Rajkot got their first match of the IPL 9 with a good contest between bat and ball.
Here are the playing XIs:
Gujarat Lions: Brendon McCullum, Aaron Finch, Suresh Raina (capt.), Dinesh Karthik (wk), Dwayne Bravo, Akshdeep Nath, Ravindra Jadeja, James Faulkner, Praveen Kumar, Shadab Jakati, Pravin Tambe
Rising Pune Supergiants: Ajinkya Rahane, Faf du Plessis, Kevin Pietersen, Steven Smith, Mitchell Marsh, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt. & wk), Rajat Bhatia, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ishant Sharma, RP Singh, Murugan Ashwin
TOSS: MS Dhoni wins the toss, Pune bat first in Rajkot. Pune are unchanged, while hosts have three changes.
Today's match officials:
Umpires: Vineet Kulkarni and CK Nandan
Third umpire: Anil Dandekar
Match referee: Chinmay Sharma
Reserve umpire: Krishnamachari Bharatan
Rising Pune Supergiants: MS Dhoni (capt. & wk), Ajinkya Rahane, Kevin Pietersen, Faf du Plessis, Steve Smith, Mitchell Marsh, Jaskaran Singh, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ankit Sharma, Albie Morkel, Irfan Pathan, Ishant Sharma, Ishwar Pandey, Thisara Perera, Saurabh Tiwary, R P Singh, Rajat Bhatia, Ankush Bains, Baba Aparajith, Murugan Ashwin, Ashok Dinda, Deepak Chahar, Scott Boland, Peter Handscomb, Adam Zampa.
Gujarat Lions: Suresh Raina (capt.), Dwayne Bravo, James Faulkner, Aaron Finch, Brendon McCullum, Dwayne Smith, Dale Steyn, Pravin Tambe, Ishan Kishan, Ravindra Jadeja, Shadab Jakati, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Shivil Kaushik, Dhawal Kulkarni, Praveen Kumar, Pradeep Sangwan, Jaydev Shah, Umang Sharma, Andrew Tye, Sarabjit Ladda, Akshdeep Nath, Amit Mishra, Paras Dogra, Eklavya Dwivedi.
After registering convincing wins in their respective opening matches, both Rising Pune Supergiants (RPS) and Gujarat Lions (GL) will lock horns in the first battle of newbies.
The sixth match of the 2016 Indian Premier League (IPL) season will not be 'only' about the new teams, but also about old team-mates – from the stable of now suspended Chennai Super Kings (CSK) – meeting in an altogether different set up.
But the most recognizable battle will be between the two captains, Mahendra Singh Dhoni for RPS and his long-time confidante Suresh Raina, now leading GL.
Both the teams have little trouble in posting first wins, but today, it will be a tough ask for either side getting all two points.
READ FULL PREVIEW HERE
New Delhi: Welcome to our live coverage of the Match 6 of 2016 Indian Premier League between Gujarat Lions vs Rising Pune Supergiants, being played at Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Rajkot.