Royal Challengers Bangalore v Gujarat Lions, IPL 2017, Bengaluru April 27, 2017

Finch's brutish masterclass

Aaron Finch didn't bat at his preferred opening position, but that didn't change his approach towards chasing down a potentially tricky total

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Agarkar: Finch took the pressure off Raina and Gujarat

Star turn

Aaron Finch is at his best in T20s while opening the batting, a position that allows him to utilise the field restrictions in the Powerplay, primarily to hit over the infield. After opening for Gujarat Lions for a couple of games, he was again pushed down to No. 4 against Royal Challengers Bangalore. However, two early wickets meant Finch could either benefit from almost a third of the Powerplay or look to play himself in and prevent further damage.

He didn't read his first delivery, a googly from Samuel Badree, which was Finch's indicator to stick to his strengths. Anticipating a full length, Finch stayed low and nailed a slog sweep off the next ball, hitting the roof over deep midwicket. Next ball, he swatted another full delivery over long-on. Finch didn't need to alter his successful attacking approach thereafter. He slugged five fours and six sixes en route to the fastest fifty by a Lions batsman, finishing with 72 off just 34 balls to help the side breeze to victory.

The wow moment

Finch was cruising along when Suresh Raina picked out deep midwicket with a slog sweep. Subsequent replays indicated Yuzvendra Chahal had overstepped. Finch, with the support of a free-hit, missed a switch-hit, his weakest stroke. He was determined to show off his proficiency with touch strokes, so he tried again. On 67, he brought out a conventional reverse sweep, guiding a legbreak from Chahal to the third man boundary. It was Finch's most deft stroke in an otherwise brutish innings.

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Stats that matter

  • Finch smashed 32 runs off 11 balls to deliveries pitched on a full or a yorker length.

  • Finch hit 47 runs through lone-on, off just 12 balls, including all his six sixes.

  • Finch was equally merciless against spin and pace. He hit the seamers for 45 runs off 21 balls and the spinners for 27 runs off 13 balls.

What they said

@AaronFinch5 is in town people #kaboooooooom serious hitting
David Warner on Twitter

Thanks for all the kind messages, it was a great team effort! Congratulations @Bazmccullum on 100 brilliant IPL games!!
Aaron Finch, on Twitter

Nikhil Kalro is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo