Dwayne Smith's assault helps Gujarat outclass Pune
Dwayne Smith's quick fire 37-ball 63 eclipsed Steven Smith's maiden T20 ton and helped Gujarat beat Pune by three wickets, in a tense last-ball finish, in the Indian Twenty20 competition on Friday.
Smith shone with the bat in Pune's innings, after Gujarat's captain, Suresh Raina, won the toss and opted to bowl. The home side lost opener, Saurabh Tiwary, in the third over, for just one, but Smith and Ajinkya Rahane added 111 runs for the second wicket in 11.1 overs they batted together.
Rahane's run out in the 14th over didn't affect Pune's momentum as MS Dhoni joined Smith and plundered two four and two sixes in his 18-ball 30. Smith, who made 101 off 54 balls, built his innings with deft, back-foot flicks and powerful, front-foot drives. The impressive display with the bat helped Pune post 195 in their innings.
Gujarat needed 9.75 runs an over from the onset to successfully complete the chase. Dwayne Smith and Brendon McCullum - known for their attacking display - gave them just the start they required.
Pune conceded just one four in the first two overs of the chase, but Mccullum led the charge thereafter and smashed Albie Morkel for three fours and a six in the third over. Seven boundaries were hit in the three overs that followed.
Thisara Perera then dropped Smith in the sixth over at midwicket. It was a chance that Pune grew to rue, as the Smith-McCullum combine added 93 runs, before McCullum finally fell in the ninth over.
Perera bowled Smith two overs later but not before the West Indies batsman had provided the momentum required for the chase. Raina and Dinesh Karthik then added 51 runs for the third wicket. When Karthik fell, Gujarat needed 30 off 22 balls.
Legspinner M Ashwin conceded just four runs in the 18th over and Ashok Dinda, 11 runs in the 19th. With eight runs to defend, Perera was given the final over. James Faulkner hit the first ball to the square-leg boundary. The second ball was a wide and the third was struck to cover for a single. Raina was then bowled off the fourth ball and Ishan Kishan was run out from the fifth, but Faulkner held his nerve and took a single off the last ball to successfully end the chase.
"I enjoy opening, especially with Baz. I hope we can continue doing that. It was great to see Baz take the mantle. I just had to sit back. The boys are really up for it," Smith said.
Raina lauded his openers for the providing the platform for the chase. "Baz and Smith did the damage in first six overs. Jimmy had a good birthday tonight. When you have a target in mind, you can attack the first six overs. It is working for us," Raina said.