A brilliant innings of 74 off 47 balls by Aaron Finch gave the Gujarat Lions their first IPL win, beating the Kings XI Punjab by five wickets.
It was a great performance all round by the Lions in Mohali, as Dwayne Bravo had earlier stepped up to rein in a rampant run-rate and restrict the Kings’ total to 161 by taking four wickets. In the process he became the first bowler to take 300 T20 wickets.
Dale Steyn, though, was watching from the sidelines, having been left out of the starting XI.
The Lions’ chase did not look good when big-hitting Brendon McCullum went for 0 in the first over, but Finch immediately took control. He had good support from Suresh Raina, who smashed 20 off nine balls with two sixes and a four, and from Dinesh Karthik, who ended unbeaten on 41 off 26.
When Finch departed, the Lions were 117-3 off 12 overs and ready to launch. They had two overs to spare when they crossed the line.
The Kings, who decided they did not need either Kyle Abbott, or Farhaan Behardien, were looking good when they went through the power play at 52-0. Murali Vijay (42) and Manan Vohra (38) put on 78 before the first wicket fell in the ninth over.
Bravo, obviously buoyed by his new title of world champion, was belatedly introduced in the 10th over, when the Kings were 82-1. In his second over, he snapped up Glenn Maxwell (2) and David Miller (15) which helped put a brake on the run-rate.
The delivery to Miller, a slower, dipping yorker, brought Bravo his 300th T20 wicket, standing alone on top of the pile after passing Lasith Malinga.
Just for good measure, he picked up another two in the last over to end with 4-22 and strangle the customary last-over blast.