Finch fires once again as Lions stay top


The Gujarat Lions continued their impressive start to their maiden IPL season with a three-wicket, final-ball, win over the Mumbai Indians on Saturday, thanks to yet another half ton from Aaron Finch.

Scoring his third fifty in as many matches, Finch made 67 not out as he led the side to victory in what became a tight finish. Mitchell McClenaghan's four wickets nearly derailed the chase of 144 at the end.

Mumbai's innings was underwhelming for the most part, having lost the toss and being put in to bat. They lost Rohit Sharma in the second over and then Hardik Pandya in the fourth, with less than 20 runs on the board.

Opener Parthiv Patel kept things ticking along at one end, but Jos Buttler and Kieron Pollard both failed to contribute much on the night. Buttler made 16 before being brilliantly stumped down the leg side by Dinesh Karthik.

Wickets fell regularly and at one point 120 looked to be a stretch, but the final five overs saw more than 40 runs amassed as Tim Southee let rip. The New Zealand fast bowler showed his batting skills with a flurry of boundaries, ending on 25 off 11 balls.

The Lions' chase got off to a quick start but they soon lost Brendon McCullum for six. He was well caught by Pandya, who took the ball close to the grass while falling to his right.

Skipper Suresh Raina then did well to score quickly and reach the 20s, but he was out for 27 to Mitchell McClenaghan, caught behind. Three overs later, Karthik was well caught on the rope by Harbhajan Singh for nine.

Finch was still there though, in the 30s, so all hope was not lost. But it wasn't ideal when Dwayne Bravo fell a few balls later, seemingly catching a top edge to the keeper off Bumrah. But Snicko later showed that he didn't touch it.

With five overs to go, the Lions still had Finch in the middle and needed 45 runs. Akshdeep Nath was out for 12 at the start of the 17th over, bringing James Faulkner to the middle, needing to live up to his reputation as a 'finisher'.

He could not do so, and was caught behind for seven with 13 runs required off 10 balls. The final over saw 11 runs required, and Dhawal Kulkarni did his part by hitting a four when eight runs were required off four balls.

With three needed off two balls, they ran two, tying the scores with one ball to go. No worries for Finch though, as he slapped the ball into the deep for the win.