Australian opener Aaron Finch played through pain to notch up his three back-to-back fifties and help Gujarat Lions to third win three games of Indian Premier League 2016.
After winning the toss, Lions skipper Suresh Raina asked Mumbai Indians to bat first at Wankhede Stadium. And the decision to bat second proved right with the home team batsmen failing, collectively.
Except Parthiv Patel, who made a stroke full 34 off 29 balls, was the top scorer. And had not been for a 42-run 8th wicket stand between Krunal Pandya and Tim Southee, the total would have been much lower.
Lions start to the chase was not great with Brendon McCullum losing his wicket early. But Finch hold the innings together with his unbeaten 67 off 54 balls. Skipper Raina with 27 off 22 balls was the second highest scorer for the winners, and it reflected the real cause of concern. A middle order slump.
But Dhawal Kulkarni held his nerve well to give Finch the partnership to complete the chase.
At one point, to be precise the in the penultimate over, Mumbai Indians have brought back themselves into the contest with a superb two-wicket two-run over from Mitchell McClenaghan.
Needing 11 runs from the last over, Finch hit the winning runs -- a four over mid-wicket -- as fielders closed into stop a single, in case, as the the situation was 1 off 1, in the last ball.
And for the record, Finch became the first player to win three back-to-back man-of-the-match in IPL. And for Mumbai, Hardik and Krunal Pandya became first brothers to play for the same franchise in an IPL match.
But the turning point of the match could have been easily the Akshdeep Nath stop at deep square leg, with which he converted a sure six to 2 off the last ball of the Mumbai innings.
Another interesting facet of the match that emerged from the match was the playing of Dhawal Kulkarni, who took two wickets and hit six runs off three balls.
Why? Because, he wasn't supposed to be playing the match. But played, because of Ravindra Jadeja, who skipped the match to attend his marriage morrow. Bad timing! Attending own's marriage during IPL! Bad timing.
GUJARAT LIONS INNINGS
Over 20 || Score 147/7 (Finch 67; Kulkarni 6); Target 144
11 needed from six balls. A double to start the over, bowled by Jasprit Bumrah. Aaron Finch, struggling with pain, completed a single.
Then, Dhawal Kulkarni hit a four over extra cover. A single followed. Then a two with Kulkarni just saving himself by the grounded bat.
Scored tied. One needed of one. And lengthy talk between senior pros, even as the packed Mumbai crowd raised the decibel level.
All the fielders closed in, and Finch raised his hands. He just hit the last ball for a four. over mid-wicket fielder.
Three wins from three matches for Suresh Raina's men.
Over 19 || Score 133/7 (Finch 58; Kulkarni 1); Target 144
Such a dangerous bowler, Mitchell McClenaghan is. Produced a brilliant penultimate over to keep alive Mumbai's chances alive. Two wickets and two runs. What an over.
A dot to James Faulkner to start over. Then, a slower bouncer, which Faulkner guided to wicket keeper.
WICKET: James Faulkner c ParthivPatel b Mitchell McClenaghan 7 (8b)
A dot ball later, new man Praveen Kumar departed. Caught behind. Ttough chance for Parthiv Patel, but well taken.
WICKET: Praveen Kumar c ParthivPatel b Mitchell McClenaghan 0 (2b)
Two singles to end the over. And Lions need 11 from the last over. Dhawal Kulkarni is the new man.
Over 18 || Score 131/5 (Finch 57; Faulkner 7); Target 144
Used sporadically, Jasprit Bumrah returned for his third over. Good start. A dot ball, followed by three singles with the fourth ball being ruled a front-foot no-ball. Free-hit, which was placed in a perfect gap for a four. Faulkner reached out to make a contact to the ball, and, it after getting the bottom of the bat, the ball went pass the gully and short third man fielders.
A single and two runs off the last two balls. 10 runs from the ovver. Gujarat Lions need 13 runs from 12 balls.
Over 17 || Score 121/5 (Finch 54; Faulkner 1); Target 144
Rohit Sharma brought in Mitchell McClenaghan and the Kiwi quick removed Akshdeep Nath. Slower delivery and a catch at Mid-on by Hardik Pandya.
WICKET: Akshdeep Nath c Hardik Pandya b Mitchell McClenaghan 12 (11b)
That brought dangerous James Faulkner in the middle. Four leg-byes followed, then a single to Aaron Finch. Faulkner took a single, then Finch played a delicate late cut for his second fifty in two matches. The over ended with a 2, and 12 runs from it.
23 required from 18.
Over 16 || Score 109/4 (Finch 47; Nath 12); Target 144
It looked like Harbhajan Singh was doing the perfect job, until the fifth ball. Four runs from the first five balls, which included a full body dive from Kieron Pollard to stop a sure four at mid-off, off the fifth ball, restricting to two.
Then, Aaron Finch clobbered the last ball over the mid-wicket boundary for a six. And 10 runs from the over.
Over 15 || Score 99/4 (Finch 38; Nath 11); Target 144
A good over Gujarat Lions after a long time. Nine runs from Tim Southee's last over, which included a four by Akshdeep Nath, off the fourth ball.
Three singles before that, and a 2 off the last ball. Lions need 45 more runs from 30 balls.
Over 14 || Score 90/4 (Finch 36; Nath 4); Target 144
A tidy over to tighten the noose around Gujarat Lions. Only three runs from Krunal Pandya's fourth over.
His figures: 4-0-20-1.
Lions need 54 runs from 36 balls.
Over 13 || Score 87/4 (Finch 34; Nath 3); Target 144
Sensing some quick wickets, Rohit Sharma brought in his strike bowler Jasprit Bumrah into the attack. A dot ball later, he was rewarded with the big wicket of Dwayne Bravo. Caught behind off a bouncer. But there wasn't a nick.
And the West Indian disappointed and floored.
WICKET: Dwayne Bravo c Parthiv Patel b Jasrpit Bumrah 2 (6b)
Akshdeep Nath is the new man. Four runs and a wicket from the over.
Over 12 || Score 80/3 (Finch 33; Bravo 2); Target 144
First wicket for Krunal Pandya, and what a catch at long leg by Harbhajan Singh. Jumped to perfection. Dinesh Karthik could have done better, but his sweep shot not that bad.
WICKET: Dinesh Karthik c Harbhajan Singh b Krunal Pandya 9 (11b)
Dwayne Bravo is the new man. Three runs and a wicket from the over. Lions need 61 runs from 48 balls.
Over 11 || Score 80/2 (Finch 33; Karthik 9); Target 144
Hardik Pandya on for his second over. Three dot balls, then a wide. Then, Dinesh Karthik moved his position to play a scoop shot with ball sailing over the short fine leg fielder.
It was followed by a single to the mid-on fielder. Two dot balls to Aaron Finch to end the over. Six runs from the over.
Over 10 || Score 74/2 (Finch 33; Karthik 4); Target 144
A bust over as Krunal Pandya conceded eight runs without leaking any boundary. A single to Aaron Finch to start the over, followed by two more singles.
Dinesh Karthik took a two off the fourth ball, the a single another two.
Gujarat Lions need another 70 runs from 60 balls.
Over 9 || Score 63/2 (Finch 29; Karthik 0); Target 144
A single to Suresh Raina, then another one to Aaron Finch.
Lions skipper Raina went all out to connect the bouncer, but it ended with a top-edged skier, which was called by Parthiv Patel with huge gloves. Well taken at short third man.
WICKET: Suresh Raina c Parthiv Patel b Mitchell McClenaghan 27 (22b)
Dinesh Karthik is the new man. Three runs and a wicket from the over.
Over 8 || Score 63/1 (Finch 27; Raina 26); Target 144
Aaron Finch can slice. Some delicate cutting from the Aussie opener, and the result, two successive fours, off the second and third balls of the over.
A dot ball followed, before a single for a fifty-run second wicket stand. Suresh Raina played a late cut for a single to end the over.
10 runs from the over, and Lions need another 81 runs from 12 overs.
Over 7 || Score 53/1 (Finch 18; Raina 25); Target 144
Pandya replacing Pandya. Younger Pandya to restart the proceedings after the break. And a dot ball to Suresh Raina, followed by a single. A wide, then a big LBW shout to Aaron Finch, resulted in a leg-bye.
A single again to Raina, then another to Finch before someone said the ball landed in the commentary box. Huge six from Raina. 11 runs from the over.
Over 6 || Score 42/1 (Finch 17; Raina 17); Target 144
It's like testing the waters. Rohit Sharma introduced spin, in the last over before the end of power-play.
Krunal Pandya started his spell with a single to Suresh Raina. Aaron Finch rotated he strike.
Then, a deliberate lofted straight drive from Raina, for a four. A single then, two dot balls. Eight runs from the over.
Gujarat Lions need another 102 runs from 14 overs. And Time-Out in Mumbai.
Over 5 || Score 35/1 (Finch 16; Raina 11); Target 144
That's sheer disrespect. Two dot balls for Tim Southee in his third over, then Aaron Finch moved back way beyond the leg stump and creamed a well directed ball over the cover fielder for a four.
A single followed, then a dot ball to Suresh Raina. Bouncer to good effect. Then Raina scrambled for a single after the ball on the leg hit him, the bat. Six runs from the over.
Over 4 || Score 29/1 (Finch 11; Raina 10); Target 144
Rohit Sharma introduced left-arm fast bowler Mitchell McClenaghan into the attack. A leg-bye to Aaron Finch, then a dot ball to Lions skipper Suresh Raina.
Raina, then, played a lofted cover drive for his first boundary. Another dot ball, with McClenaghan pounding the pitch. A similar deliver followed, which missed the bat.
Raina responded with another lofted cover drive. Another four. Nine runs from the over.
Over 3 || Score 20/1 (Finch 11; Raina 2); Target 144
Tim Southee on for his second over, and was hit for a four by Aaron Finch. With four runs of one ball, the two Gujarat Lions batsmen took it easy. Also, good come-back from the Kiwi bowler to concede only five runs.
Lions need 124 more runs from 17 overs.
Over 2 || Score 15/1 (Finch 6; Raina 2); Target 144
Lots of replays required. Then the finger raised. Brendon McCullum departed. Great catch at backward point by a diving Hardik Pandya.
WICKET: Brendon McCullum c Hardik Pandya b Jasprit Bumrah 6 (4b)
That happened off the third ball. Skipper Suresh Raina is the new man. Then, off the last ball, Jos Buttler asked for a catch and Kumar Dharmasena referred to third umpire. Catch, ot not at leg gully. Not out was the decision.
Four runs and a wicket from the over.
Over 1 || Score 11/0 (Finch 5; McCullum 6); Target 144
A whirlwind start to the run chase from Gujarat Lions.
A dot ball to start the over, then man in form Aaron Finch carted one through mid-wicket for the first boundary of the innings. A single, then a chance to the fielding team as Brendon McCullum failed to check his shot off a bouncer.
Another dot ball, then he tonked his fellow New Zealander Tim Southee for a huge six over mid-wicket boundary.
11 runs from the over.
MUMBAI INDIANS INNINGS
Over 20 || Score 143/8 (K Pandya 20; McClenaghan 0)
Close calls. Lucky runs for Mumbai Indians. Tim Southee found a four off the third ball, which any day would have gone to a fielder.
Then, the Kiwi hit the next ball for a straight six.
Then, the run out off the fifth ball as Southee attempted to steal a single after missing a slower delivery.
Direct hit at the wickets from an angry Dwayne Bravo.
WICKET: Tim Southee run out 25 (11b)
Then, Akshdeep Nath pulled off a brilliant fielding at deep square leg to deny Krunal Pandya his first six of the IPL. Pandya and Mitchell McClenaghan ran two runs. 14 runs from the over.
Over 19 || Score 129/7 (K Pandya 17; Southee 14)
A huge, huge six over long-on to start the over. A no-ball, but Tim Southee failed to take full advantage of it. Only two off it.
James Faulkner, in a bid to reduce the striking zone, continued to bowl wide. The seventh ball, legally fifth, went for a four thanks to a thick outside edge. Lucky runs to Krunal Pandya.
A dot ball to end the 17-run penultimate over.
Over 18 || Score 112/7 (K Pandya 12; Southee 5)
Busy over. And runs for Mumbai Indians, thanks to a Pandya.
The over started with a single to Krunal Pandya, then Tim Southee took two two's. A single followed, then a wide.
Pandya played a pulls shot to hit his second four. A 2 to end the over. 13 runs from Dwayne Bravo's third over.
Over 17 || Score 99/7 (K Pandya 5; Southee 0)
By the look of things, Krunal Pandya certainly seems lot more capable than his brother Hardik.
The over started with a no ball to Ambati Rayudu. Free hit wasted, only two runs.
Krunal then played a delicate late cut which beat the diving wicket-keeper for a four. A single and, the wicket of Rayudu. Clean bowled.
WICKET: Ambati Rayudu b James Faulkner 20 (19b)
11 runs and a wicket. Tim Southee is the new man.
Over 16 || Score 88/6 (Rayudu 15; K Pandya 0)
Another wicket at crucial time. Every time Mumbai Indians looked like having a good little partnership, a wicket falls.
Dwayne Bravo's turn, as he sent back Harbhajan Singh back,. Good catch behind the wicket by DK.
WICKET: Harbhajan Singh c Dinesh Karthik b Dwayne Bravo 8 (13b)
That happened off the penultimate delivery of the over. Krunal Pandya on. For the record this is the first time two brothers are playing for a team.
Six runs and a wicket from the over.
Over 15 || Score 82/5 (Rayudu 15; Harbhajan 2)
A series of good overs for Gujarat Lions as pressure continued to apply on the home team. James Faulkner conceded four runs in his second over, all singles.
In the previous over, Shadab Jakati produced an one-run over, with Harbhajan Singh blocking five balls after Ambati Rayudu's single off the first ball.
In the last overs, Mumbai have scored 23 runs losing two wicket. Not certainly their period.
Over 13 || Score 77/5 (Rayudu 3; Harbhajan 0)
Pravin Tambe removed Parthiv Patel. Good, well judged catch at deep mid-wicket by James Faulkner.
WICKET: Parthiv Patel c James Faulkner b Pravin Tambe 34 (29b)
That happened off the last ball of the over.
The over started with Ambati Rayudu blocking, then sweeping the second ball for a huge six over. A 2, then a single before the wicket.
Harbhajan Singh, the batsman, is the new man.
Over 12 || Score 68/4 (Patel 34; Rayudu 3)
Dwayne 'Champion' Bravo on, and a good over to start his spell. Six singles from his first over.
In the last five overs Mumbai Indians have scored 35 runs losing two wickets.
Over 11 || Score 62/4 (Patel 30; Rayudu 1)
First ball wicket for Pravin Tambe. The wily old fox removed dangerous Kieron Pollard. Good catch by Dwayne Bravo at long-off. It took ages for the West Indian fielder to wait for the ball to fall back to earth.
WICKET: Kieron Pollard c Dwayne Bravo b Pravin Tambe 1 (3b)
Ambati Rayudu, the new man, get himelf busied soon with a single. Three runs and a wicket from the over.
Over 10 || Score 59/3 (Patel 28; Pollard 1)
Parthiv Patel continued with his cautious but attacking batting.
A dot ball to start the over, and Parthiv lofted the short delivery over cow corner. Good hitting.
Two singles, and 8 runs from the over.
Over 9 || Score 51/3 (Patel 21; Pollard 0)
The over started with a six, with Parthiv Patel hitting over long on boundary. A 2 followed, then two dot balls. Patel took a single, then a wide delivery, but
WICKET: Jos Buttler st Dinesh Karthik b Shadab Jakati 16 (21b)
Brilliant stumping from DK. He also became the leading wicket-keeper to have most stumpings, at 25, one more than MS Dhoni. 10 runs and a wicket.
Kieron Pollard is the new man.
Over 8 || Score 41/2 (Patel 12; Buttler 16)
Double bowling change from Lions, as skipper Suresh Raina introduced James Faulkner into the attack. Eight runs from the over.
In the previous over, Shadab Jakati started the spell conceding two runs.
Over 6 || Score 31/2 (Patel 9; Buttler 10)
Power play ended with Dhawal Kulkarni leaking five runs from his third over. The over started with a four, of the blade of Jos Buttler.
In the previous over, Praveen Kumar conceded seven runs, which also included a four, to Buttler.
Over 4 || Score 19/2 (Patel 9; Buttler 0)
After a 10-run Praveen Kumar over, Dhawal Kulkarni returned for his second over, and another wicket, his second. A wicket maiden from the paceman.
Hardik Pandya, known for flamboyance rather than substance, got out the same way as his skipper, caught at square leg, by the same man.
WICKET: Hardik Pandya c Shadab Jakati b Dhawal Kulkarni 2 (6b)
That happened off the third ball of the over, and new man Jos Buttler ate up the remaining deliveries.
Over 2 || Score 9/1 (Patel 1; H Pandya 1)
What an start from Dhawal Kulkarni, who was in for soon to be married Ravindra Jadeja. A four to start the over with Mumbai skipper hitting through extra cover.
But the very next delivery, he managed to get the big wicket. Good catch at square leg by Shadab Jakati.
WICKET: Rohit Sharma c Shdab Jakati b Dhawal Kulkarni 7 (9b)
Six runs and a wicket from the over. Hardik Pandya is in three.
Over 1 || Score 3/0 (Rohit 3; Patel 0)
Good start from Gujarat Lions thanks to a Praveen Kumar over which leaked only three runs.
Here are the XIs:
Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (capt.), Parthiv Patel (wk), Hardik Pandya, Jos Buttler, Keiron Pollard, Ambati Rayudu, Harbhajan Singh, Krunal Pandya, Tim Southee, Mitchell McClenaghan, Jasprit Bumrah
Gujarat Lions: Aaron Finch, Brendon McCullum, Suresh Raina (capt.), Dwayne Bravo, Dinesh Karthik (wk), James Faulkner, Akshdeep Nath, Praveen Kumar, Shadab Jakati, Dhawal Kulkarni, Pravin Tambe
TOSS: Gujarat Lions have won the toss and will bowl.
It's already billed as one of the most crucial encounters of the season. Mumbai Indians just got into the groove after their convincing win over other two-time champions Kolkata Knight Riders, and waiting to ambush their title defence dreams is Gujarat Lions, the table toppers.
The defending champions will have the advantage of playing in front of their home crowd, but the visiting newbies, which many considered to be one of the greatest ensembles of Twenty20 cricketers, will cherish the fight they have got in their hands.
Reason: this team under Suresh Raina has enough match-winners to change the course of any match, at any given time. Dwane Bravo, Brendon McCullum, Aaron Finch, Ravindra Jadeja and the skipper himself -- they are T20 heavyweights.
when they meet Rohit Sharma's gladiators, the contest is bound to become a classic. Besides the skipper himself, the Mumbai franchise has the likes of Jos Buttler, Harbhajan Singh, Keiron Pollard, Corey Anderson. And the arrival of Martin Guptill, and of course the sight Lasith Malinga hitting the nets again, gives goosebumps.
New Delhi: Welcome to our live coverage of the Match 9 of 2016 Indian Premier League between Mumbai Indians and Gujarat Lions, being played at Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai.
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