Gujarat Lions v Mumbai Indians, IPL 2016, Kanpur May 21, 2016

Smith, Raina seal top-two spot for Lions

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Gujarat Lions 173 for 4 (Raina 58, McCullum 48, Smith 37*, Vinay 2-17) beat Mumbai Indians 172 for 8 (Rana 70, Buttler 33, Bravo 2-22, Praveen 2-24) by six wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Dwayne Bravo's end-overs bowling played a key role in restricting Mumbai Indians to 172 in excellent batting conditions © BCCI

Gujarat Lions guaranteed themselves a top-two finish on the IPL league table, and earned themselves two shots at a place in the final, after a 96-run partnership between Brendon McCullum and Suresh Raina set them up for a six-wicket win over Mumbai Indians. Lions ended the league stage on 18 points while Mumbai finished on 14. To make the playoffs, Mumbai will need Kolkata Knight Riders and Delhi Daredevils - who also have 14 points each - to lose their matches on Sunday, and lose by big enough margins for their net run rates to dip below Mumbai's -0.146.

Rohit Sharma noted, after Raina chose to bowl, that the Green Park pitch wasn't as green as it had been on Thursday when Lions had restricted Knight Riders to 124. It wasn't just less green. It was even-paced, with the ball coming nicely on to the bat, and Mumbai's total of 172 proved well short of challenging as Lions, given a strong platform by Raina and McCullum, and a sure finish by Dwayne Smith - who swapped places in the batting order with Aaron Finch - cruised home with 13 balls remaining.

Mumbai got off to an excellent start with the bat, with Rohit enjoying the batting-friendly conditions to move to 30 off 16 balls, with four fours and two sixes, before pulling Dhawal Kulkarni straight to deep square leg in the fourth over. Nitish Rana walked in and pulled his first ball for four.

Dwayne Smith had picked up four wickets on Thursday, and Raina tossed him the ball at the start of the fifth over even though the conditions were rather different this time. Martin Guptill, invisible till then, glanced his second ball for four, and should have put away his third one as well. It was shortish, and offered plenty of swinging room for Guptill to flat-bat it anywhere he pleased; he ended up dragging it to mid-on.

With Smith's deceptively quick bouncer consuming Krunal Pandya in the same over, Mumbai were forced into rebuilding mode. Rana and Jos Buttler only scored 27 runs in the first 30 balls of their partnership, and Mumbai were 72 for 3 at the halfway stage.

Fifteen came off the 11th, as Rana slogged Ravindra Jadeja over long-on and Buttler chopped him to the backward point boundary. Rana began the 12th over with a four and a six off Smith, and Mumbai were back on track.

Rana favoured the pull and the slog-sweep, and those strengths, and his left-handedness, was probably the reason Raina only used Jadeja for one over. Rana hit Shadab Jakati, Lions' other left-arm spinner, for a six in the 13th over, and three fours - two in the midwicket region - in the 15th.

Fourteen came off that over, and with Rana past the half-century mark, Mumbai were nicely placed going into the last five. They had lost Buttler to a reflex caught-and-bowled from Dwayne Bravo, but at the crease was Kieron Pollard, in the kind of situation he enjoys batting in.

Rana clubbed another leg-side six off Dhawal Kulkarni in the 16th, going deep in his crease to shorten the length of the ball, but he miscued to deep square leg when he tried the same shot off Bravo in the next over. Pollard cleared long-on with a top-edge in the 18th before swatting a full-toss from Kulkarni straight down long-off's throat. Suddenly, Mumbai had two new batsmen at the crease with only two overs to go.

They would only get 12 from the last two, as Bravo and Praveen Kumar, both going around the wicket, either speared it too full for Hardik Pandya and Harbhajan Singh to get under, or dangled it too slow to line up perfectly. Both batsmen fell in the final over as Mumbai finished on 172 for 8. They had only scored 27 in the last four overs.

Finch fell in the first over of Lions' innings, victim to his tendency to get stuck on the crease early in his innings, but McCullum and Raina quickly got the chase into gear. Bowlers tend to attack Raina's rib cage early on, but Mitchell McClenaghan overused the short ball in the third over, and the batsman pulled, slapped and uppercut three fours, having already picked up a boundary when Hardik let a drive slip between his legs at cover point.

McCullum hit Krunal for two fours and a pulled six in the fifth over, and Lions were already past 50. With the field still in, Raina's chancy slogs off Jasprit Bumrah's slower balls proved quite productive in the sixth over - one went to the third man boundary off the top edge, and the other, not quite middled, sailed over deep midwicket. Rattled, Bumrah fed McCullum on his pads and then gave him width; 19 came off that over and Lions' required rate dipped to 7.35.

With the spinners, Krunal and Harbhajan Singh, routinely dropping short, Lions were racing home. This being the IPL, there was a small wobble, as McCullum, Dinesh Karthik and Raina fell in the space of 19 balls to leave 51 needed from 46. Smith, though, conveyed cold authority right from the time he flat-batted the second ball he faced back over Bumrah's head, and he steered Lions home with a calm, unbeaten 37 off 23.

Karthik Krishnaswamy is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • J on May 22, 2016, 7:08 GMT

    Gujrat has been the dark horse of this edition of IPL. While Mumbai Indians have been the same old inconsistent team, who win only due to one off individual performances or if the opposition doesn't play well. It is time for Mumbai to completely overhaul the team and get rid of players like parthiv and the other overhyped superstars. They need to select some hardworking and dedicated low profile players who will put in sincere efforts and deliver consistently instead of behaving like superstars off the pitch and fail in almost every match.

  •   Cricinfouser on May 22, 2016, 6:36 GMT

    This year's IPL has to be the best because all the deserving teams are in the semi - finals. Hope KKR wins today.

  • urmi.n5133911 on May 22, 2016, 5:48 GMT

    As expected, MI crumbled under pressure. Instead of picking one person to blame, I would say that they lost because of a collective effort. MI needs to stop choosing people based on their past performances. Anderson for Pollard should have happened way earlier to give some depth and stability to the middle order. Handy left arm pacer as well! Hardik Pandya was given way too many chances. A new opener in place of Parthiv should have come in after consecutive poor performances from PP. That way, Buttler would have been more settled in as a wicket keeper. McClenaghan shouldn't have been an automatic selection. If wickets are important, clamping down run rate is equally important. Every time he was required to be miserly, he gifted runs to the opposition. Guptill proved to be a disappointment. So moving forward, I do hope they pick horses for courses in the future. MI fans seem to lash out at players who silently make their contributions but place overrated players on pedestals.

  • Krishen on May 22, 2016, 5:37 GMT

    When going gets tough, tough get going. GL demonstrated that in their win over MI. GL v MI match resembled a boxing match where each side put a lot of punches / counter punches. The major turning point of the match was the outstanding bowling performance of GL in last 5 overs. GL have stunned critics & experts with their good performances for a new team in IPL. This has been on account of excellent team work/team management/captaincy. GL have shown great match situation awareness & secured wins in close / tough matches as well. GL have beaten strong teams like RCB, KKR & MI. GL would have secured higher points but for missed opportunity of wins( v DD/SRH ) & improvement of NRR( in match 1 v KKR ) through fielding errors. GL have a well-balanced batting/bowling/fielding unit. GL made excellent mid tournament decisions for strengthening their middle order batting & fielding. GL are 2/3 wins away from a IPL title win on debut. The only player who can stop them is the Super Genius - Kohli.

  • pradha4688861 on May 22, 2016, 4:32 GMT

    In my opinion there were numerous factors for mi not making it this year. 1. the most important factor i think was the loss of malinga. Yes mitch took the wickets but he was very expensive, and southee was nowhere near spectacular. he was at best adequate. The thing with malinga is he takes wickets but he is very economical. you can trust him to put pressure on the batting team and bowl economically even if he dsnt get wickets. When that happens it presents opportunities to the other bowler to take wickets and thats where mitch comes in. Thats why MI have preferred to go in with 2 overseas bowlers. but with malinga not there that strategy should have been abandoned. This cost MI another batsman. Although they came to their senses in the last couple of games it was not enough. They didnt have time to test different batsman. If they had done it after the first couple of games they could have let guptil settle down or even try another batsman in corey anderson.

  • pradha4688861 on May 22, 2016, 4:19 GMT

    The way they have played, it was tough to support MI this year. Although there is technically still a chance for them to make the top four, I dnt think they deserve it. not making the top four will help them realise their mistakes and hopefully they will come back stronger next season. The thing is they dnt need major overhaul or wholesome squad changes. They already have the team that can go all the way, its just that they failed to manage their resources.

  • ziaul on May 22, 2016, 3:40 GMT

    Win the toss, choose to field and chase the target. this has been a common story for this IPL. Whats wrong in the pitch?? both the team (even after loosing the toss) should enjoy similar effect from pitch, but it is clearly seen that the pitch offers more to bowlers at the binging of the match, but the team bowling last gets very ordinary effect from pitch. There must be a level playing field for all the teams.

  • Shiva on May 22, 2016, 2:09 GMT

    Undue importance to pandya brothers, Hari ajana and degrading and down grading vinay Kumar has outstanding mumbai from the tournament

  • ganeshblr on May 22, 2016, 1:20 GMT

    The reason GL's run rate is negative is due to the carnage Kohli and DeVilliers committed on them last week.

  • poocha9731331 on May 21, 2016, 22:42 GMT

    Finally, Brendon McCallum, after a disappointing season, proved his capabilities a fast and quick scorer in the T20 format. One cannot help but observe that T20s have made ODIs better and that effect has changed the scenario at the Test match level. Gone are the days when Test matches dragged on to boring draws when even finishing 4 innings was remote. 5 match series ended with results from zero - zero to series win margins being very low like 1-0, 2-0 etc. Nowadays, Test matches are completed in three or less days, because of the change in attitude of the players in all areas of the game, thanks to the shorter formats. No matter what they say, all formats should stay on for the continuous rule of King Cricket.

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