Rising Pune Supergiants v Gujarat Lions, IPL 2016, Pune April 29, 2016

Gujarat Lions win thriller; Steven Smith ton in vain


Gujarat Lions 196 for 7 (Dwayne Smith 63, McCullum 43, Dinda 2-40) beat Rising Pune Supergiants 195 for 3 (Steven Smith 101, Rahane 53, Bravo 1-40) by three wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Dwayne Smith hit nine fours and a six in his 37-ball 63 that gave Lions a headstart in a steep chase © BCCI

This match should have never gone down to the last ball. But a combination of poor shot selection and frantic running between the wickets from Gujarat Lions kept the game alive till the end. On a night when Supergiants' No. 3 Steven Smith scored a century and Dwayne Smith countered with a 37-ball 63, it was birthday boy James Faulkner who sealed Lions' chase of 196 with three wickets in hand. This win meant Lions consolidated their top spot in the league standings with their sixth win in seven matches.

Steven Smith's surgical placement, fast hands, quick feet and strong wrists fetched him a maiden T20 century that would have been match-winning on most nights. But it was put to shade by Brendon McCullum and Dwayne Smith, who needed only 8.1 overs for a 93-run opening partnership. The blazing start allowed Suresh Raina (34) and DineshKarthik (33) the luxury of playing themselves in and taking the game deep.

When Karthik holed out to Ajinkya Rahane at deep midwicket, Lions needed 30 off 22 with seven wickets in hand. But legspinner M Ashwin gave away only four runs in the 18th over, Dwayne Bravo and Ravindra Jadeja were knocked over in the 19th and the pressure mounted.

With eight runs to defend, Thisara Perera was given the final over. Faulkner held his shape and swung a leg-side full toss into the square leg boundary. The next delivery was far outside off stump and the second was driven to cover for a single. Raina was bowled off the third ball and Ishan Kishan was run out off the fourth. But Faulkner kept his composure to deliver the finishing blow.

The pace was similarly frenetic t the start of the chase. McCullum hammered four boundaries in the third over, from Albie Morkel. Dwayne Smith punished Ashok Dinda and R Ashwin for two fours each as Lions racked up 72 runs in the Powerplay.

With his quicks and spinners leaking runs, MS Dhoni turned to Rajat Bhatia whose canny medium pace accounted for McCullum in the ninth over. Dwayne Smith was unfazed, however, swinginganything in his hitting arc to deep midwicket and long-on. With nine fours and a six, there was an air of authority to his batting until he inside-edged a Perera yorker onto his stumps. By then, the equation had been brought down to 81 off 55 balls with eight wickets left. A level-headed half-century stand between Raina and Karthik and a timely cameo from Faulkner finished the game.

So Steven Smith ended up on the losing side again. That didn't look likely when he was toying with the Lions bowlers during a 111-run partnership with Rahane after Supergiants had been put in to bat.

Steven Smith made 101 off 54 balls, having built his innings with deft, back-foot flicks and powerful, front-foot drives. With Lions bowling too short and overcompensating later, Smith had straightforward choices to make. The visitors' generosity peaked in the 10th over when T20 debutant and chinaman bowler Shivil Kaushik bowled Steven Smith off a no-ball and the resulting free-hit lofted for six.

Then Rahane, like his new opening partner Saurabh Tiwary, was brilliantly run-out to leave Supergiants at 124 for 2 in the 14th over. Dhoni came in and slugged an unbeaten 30 off 18 to push the total towards 200, which should have been match-winning but Supergiants wilted under pressure.

Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Khawaja on May 1, 2016, 9:20 GMT

    the best batsmen need to play early as there is usually little time...both teams seem to lack fast bowling firepower...bowling obviously ordinary but with word class batsmen things turn on batting displays ...if Khawaja comes in for Pune than both teams should have a really good top order batting

  • keerthi on May 1, 2016, 8:54 GMT

    @Kazirashid Then Can I say ponting was lucky to have good players ? . Did Darren Sammy perform anything during this T20 world cup ? He simply guided the team to victory. Captaimcy should be assigned to someone who have determination, courage, patience , etc....

    Did u see kings 11 Suffer because they don't have the captaincy material ? Bravo understood that he can be a great t20 bowler under the leadership of dhoni

    Every player experiences some bad patch. Even my favourite Master Sachin's form slumped during the end of his career. But he played a great knock in his last test match

    Also MSD is famous for his unpredictable moves by which he wins u matches.

    Remember the WC11 final match. Dhoni promoted himself ahead of in form Yuvi. He played a wonderful innings.

    You can criticize a player who is not performing well .But u cannot criticize a player who is not ur favourite

  • A on April 30, 2016, 14:19 GMT

    Irfan and Khwaja need to open. Keep Rahane to stabilize ship only. Hard hitters should come ahead. Give rest to R Ashwin for few matches. Let him refresh ( he seems jaded ).

  • Krishen on April 30, 2016, 14:14 GMT

    IND has produced many a great cricketer but 2 biggest jewels in crown of IND cricket are SRT & MSD. The former is the greatest ever batsman & the latter is the greatest ever captain, in cricket history. There have been arguments against SRT in the past & now against MSD. Cricket rewards players with continued success based on attributes of discipline, dedication, determination & skills in batting, bowling, fielding, physical fitness, mental toughness, match situation awareness etc. Victories in cricket are secured by a team with a superior collective batting, bowling & fielding performance over the opponents. Captains can only marginally optimise team performances & aren't coaches either. Captain must make contributions in role as player, in wins for the team, stand up in tough situations & facilitate player performance. MSD has done just that. MSD as captain has achieved great successes across all formats of cricket, 3 world/2 IPL/2 CPL titles with different set of players.

  •   Aby Prasad on April 30, 2016, 13:52 GMT

    what a disgusting lot to say dhoni is avg or lucky n thts y he won whatever he won in his career. even the best in the business hv acknowledged what he is. even wt matchwinning players i wnder hw mny captains win it as much as dhoni did. you guys should go back t school. period. unfortunately there isnt a school to teach sense n logic i guess.

  • Vilayanur on April 30, 2016, 13:13 GMT

    Dhoni scored 30 off 18. Not bad. But for two loose balls he put away for sixes, it would have been one run per ball. You need two runs per ball at that stage.

    Dhonis shaking his head at Rahane throw was insulting. So was his his going to Rahane and telling him he should have thrown to bowlers end, this was for benefit of camera.

    Stop showing up your players. That is not leadership.

  • Shanmugam on April 30, 2016, 9:52 GMT

    Pune surprisingly posted a near 200 total, which is positive sign for Pune. As Pune's bowling attack lacks penetration it lost the match. R Ashwin is disappointing through out this season so far and this is one good reason for this poor performance. As there are no boundary-hitters and wicket-takers in this Pune team and bounce back from here requires some MSD luck & magic. In batting, in every match Rahane played to his potential. In my opinion he should bat at number 3 or 4 position. I suspect that the opposition team not keen in getting Rahane out and leaving him to score a 45 ball fifty and leave him to play till 15th over until he gets out on his own. Rahane should be used to handle 10 for 2 or 3 scenario but not to open the innings. As a CSK fan it is really hard to see MSD struggling with this team. But Guj Lions consoles us. MSD has to find a way to bring two power hitters to open the innings. Because I do not want to see MSD and his team going through motions early.

  •   Kazi Rashid on April 30, 2016, 9:30 GMT

    KEERTHITOMMY Bravo did perform well for Mumbai also and even now under Raina he is Performing well and you said Captain should guide the team and bring the best out of the players Then it is applicable for all the captains who win trophies atleast other team captain are Performing not like Dhoni who bat now days according to the situation and scoring run a ball innings and he his lucky that he got good players and because of that he won the world cup and IPL and now days just doing Politcs with the team which can be seen clearly now days

  • keerthi on April 30, 2016, 8:43 GMT

    @ACrickLover @kazi rashid Cricket is a team game. Every player of the team should contribute in a way to win matches. It is not only about the captain.

    Captain should guide the team and bring the best out of the players.You both said it was only luck. Then it is applicable for all the captains who win trophies.

    The great ponting had a great team so he won world cups. Do u also say he had luck. Every world cup winning team had great players in their squad

    Also u said that CSK had wonderful players. It is not the problem of the team. Other teams didn't go for the same set of players. Not everyone in the CSK team was bought for 10 crores. Why other teams were simply sitting and watching CSK acquire great T20 players

    Both Bmac and DR Smith was bought for less than 4 crores.Also Bravo played for MI but he was not succesful. Dhoni brought the best out of him and assigned him a role of Death overs specialist.

    It is not only about luck .Also Fortune favours the brave !!!!!

  • Harsh on April 30, 2016, 8:30 GMT

    No doubt a great game of cricket .Gujarat Lions looked to have the match in the bag with 3 overs to go before the loss of series of wickets caused a sensational turnabout ..The dismissals of Bravo,Jadeja and Raina caused pandemonium in the Gujarat Lions camp before birthday boy Faulkner hit the final nails in the coffin.Gl held the nerves so neccesary to clinch a win in a tight finish and reflected the organization within their camp.Few matches better illlustarte how just the fall of a wicket of an important batsmen can turn the entire complexion even if the game looks in the bag. Bravo and Raina were out to strokes they need not have played wit GL coasting home.Confidence and morale is high in the GL team which must be atleast joint favourites to capture the title.