Gujarat outclass Mumbai to qualify for play-offs
Kanpur, May 21: Leading from the front, skipper Suresh Rai (58) smashed a much need half-century to guide Gujarat Lions to a six wicketAvictoryAoverAMumbai Indians in an Indian Premier League (IPL) match here on Saturday.
After win, Gujarat climb to top of points table with 18 points from 14 games and qualify for play-offs.
Batting first, riding on Nitish Ra's 36-ball 70 Mumbai posted 172/8 in 20 overs.
In reply, Gujarat displayed an all-round show with the bat as they chased down the target posting 173/4 with 13 balls to spare.
After loss, Mumbai are in the sixth spot and have 14 points from 14 games and are all but knocked out of the last four race.
Chasing a challenging target of 172, Gujarat got off to a poor start losing opener Aaron Finch (0) in the very second ball of the innings.
But his opening partner Brendon McCullum (48) and incoming batsman skipper Rai played a well, sneaking in with ones, twos, and boundaries to take team past 90-run mark in eighth over itself.
The 95-run partnership for the second wicket came to an Aend in the 10th over when Harbhajan Singh dismissed McCullum. But Rai played his tural game to put pressure on the opposition and he brought up his half-century in 30 balls. Dinesh Karthik (3) too fell cheaply. But Dwayne Smith (37 not out) along with Rai made sure the team came close to victory line.
Rai who was looking to good to finish the game for his team was dismissed in the 13th over but his team was well on course to victory line with 120-plus score.
In the dying overs of the match, Smith and Ravindra Jadeja (21 not out) held onto take Gujarat over the line.
For Mumbai, R. Viy Kumar (2-17) was the pick of the bowlers.
Earlier put into bat, skipper Rohit Sharma (30) got the defending champions off to a good start in the first three overs. But Dhawal Kulkarni got the much needed breakthrough in the fourth over dismissing Rohit to have Mumbai at 33/1.
His opening partner New Zealander Martin Guptill (7) too fell cheaply followed by Krul Pandya (4) without troubling the opposition bowlers much. With three quick wickets, Mumbai were struggling at 45/3 inside the powerplay.
But incoming batsmen Rane and Jos Buttler (33) held their nerves and played sensibly without losing any more wickets to take the team past the 100-run mark after 12 overs.
The duo put up a crucial 75-run partnership for the fourth wicket before Buttler was dismissed by a superb caught and bowled by West Indian Dwayne Bravo.
Mumbai were 120/4 in the 14th over then. Despite the wicket of Buttler, Ra played his tural game with Kieron Pollard (9) at the other end.
The impressive innings by Ra came to an end in the 17th over with Bravo dismissing the left-handed batsman. But by then Mumbai were over the 150-run mark.
En route his maiden IPL half-century, the young left-handed batsman struck seven boundaries and four sixes with a strike rate of over 194.
Pollard too headed back to the pavilion in the 18th over to help Gujarat make a comeback into the game in the death overs.
Dwayne Bravo (2-22), Praveen Kumar (2-24), Dwayne Smith (2-37) and Dhawal Kulkarni (2-41) were the pick of the Gujarat bowlers.
Brief Scores: Mumbai Indians 172/8 in 20 overs (Nitish Ra 70; Dwayne Bravo 2-22, Praveen Kumar 2-24, Dwayne Smith 2-37, Dhawal Kulkarni 2-41) vs Gujarat Lions 173/4 in 17.5 overs (Suresh Rai 58; R. Viy Kumar 2-17). IANS