Nitish Rana continued his dream run in the Indian Premier League this season as he scored his second half-century to guide Mumbai Indians to a six-wicket win over Gujarat Lions at the Wankhede Stadium here on Sunday. (HIGHLIGHTS)
Rana, out in the middle after Parthiv Patel fell to the second ball of the innings, slammed four boundaries and two gigantic sixes as he reached his half-century in just 32 balls before some power-hitting from Kieron Pollard (39) and captain Rohit Sharma (40) helped them scale the 177-run target set by Lions. (SCORECARD)
It was Mumbai Indians’ fourth victory in a row, all chasing a target.
With Jos Buttler (26) at the other end, Rana powered Mumbai to 56 at the end of the powerplay overs before bringing up his half century with a boundary. He had a lucky reprieve on nine after Jason Roy dropped a sitter and took full advantage before being caught behind off Andrew Tye in the 12th over.
Buttler too didn’t last long as he threw his wicket away, trying to slog one down the long-on fence only to be caught by McCullum in the deep.
With 85 required off 53 balls, Sharma and Pollard took a while to settle down but then unleashed a flurry of boundaries as they took 62 off the next 35 balls. Pollard was the more attacking of the two, hitting three sixes and two boundaries in his 23-ball stay before getting caught by Ravindra Jadeja on the rope on 39.
That brought Hardik Pandya out and he opened his account with a boundary off the first ball and rotated the strike with Sharma, leaving Mumbai needing eight runs off the last over. Sharma sent the first ball for a four before picking up two runs each off the next two deliveries to steer his side to their first victory over Gujarat Lions in the Indian Premier League.
Earlier, after being put in to bat, Gujarat Lions rode on the brilliance of Brendon McCullum (64) and Dinesh Karthik (48) as they put up 176.
It was a terrific knock from the former Kiwi skipper as he steadied the ship for the Lions after they lost Dwayne Smith to the second ball of the innings. Smith, trying to hit one over the off-side holed out to Rana at point, prompting his captain Suresh Raina and McCullum to get cautious.
McCullum began the carnage in the last over of the powerplay; picking 15 runs against Lasith Malinga, including two massive sixes. At the other end, Raina mostly played a supporting role giving McCullum most of the strike before falling on 28.
After reaching his 12th IPL half-century with a single, McCullum sent Bumrah for a six over the square-leg boundary before guiding Malinga down the leg side for a four. However, a toe-crushing yorker in the very next ball saw his stumps uprooted, much to the delight of the home crowd.
With two set batsmen dismissed in successive overs, Lions seemed to be under a bit of pressure but Karthik played a gem of an innings coming lower down the order to steer his side to a challenging total.