Faf du Plessis scored 69, but it couldn’t prevent the Rising Pune Supergiants from crashing to a seven-wicket defeat against the Gujarat Lions in Rajkot on Thursday.
Du Plessis played a pivotal role in helping his new franchise win their opening game, and despite starring once again at the top of the order, the powerful opening pair of Brendon McCullum and Aaron Finch guided the Lions to a second successive victory.
The Supergiants won their opening game chasing against the Mumbai Indians by nine wickets but decided to bat first after winning the toss, and after Rahane fell for 21, Du Plessis and Kevin Pietersen laid the foundations for a big total with an 86-run stand. Pietersen departed for 37 but Du Plessis kept smashing, and struck four sixes for his 43-ball 69. The wickets stemmed the flow of runs somewhat but MS Dhoni, in typical Dhoni fashion, hit 22 off 10 balls at the end to get his side to 163-5.
Getting the calibre of McCullum and Finch out early was always going to be crucial, but it wasn’t to be for the Supergiants as RP Singh and Ishant Sharma failed to hit their straps early on. The Australasian pair maintained 10 runs an over, with Finch taking up most of the strike. He scored 50 of their 85 runs, before Murugan Ashwin found the breakthrough.
McCullum continued to hit out, and he hit 49 off 31 balls before Sharma sent him back with the damage all but done. Suresh Raina and Dwayne Bravo saw off the remaining runs, to see their side home with two overs remaining.