Finch and McCullum make it two from two for Gujarat


Aaron Finch and Brendon McCullum's stunning stand of 85 helped guide Gujarat Lions to a seven-wicket victory over Rising Pune Supergiants in the Indian Premier League.

Faf du Plessis top scored with 69 as the Supergiants - having elected to bat in Thursday's contest in Rajkot - set the Lions a target of 164.

Despite the South Africa international's 43-ball knock, Gujarat had no problem in chasing down that total with two overs to spare, Australia opener Finch (50) and former New Zealand captain McCullum (49) the talismen in an excellent reply.

The triumph makes it two wins from two for the Lions but, after Ajinkya Rahane went for 21 in the fourth over, it looked as if it would be a difficult evening for Gujarat as Du Plessis and Kevin Pietersen (37) piled on the runs for the Supergiants.

That duo put on 86 runs in a partnership that lasted 10.1 overs, ex-England batsman Pietersen eventually seeing his 31-ball innings ended by Dwayne Bravo (1-43).

Du Plessis, whose knock comprised of five boundaries and four maximums, took the Supergiants beyond 130 but his exit courtesy of a Dinesh Karthik stumping prompted a stumble from the middle order.

Steve Smith (5) and Mitchell Marsh (7) both departed cheaply, however, MS Dhoni's unbeaten 22 off 10 steadied the ship.

But Finch's 33-ball half-century promptly put Gujarat on the front foot and, even after he departed to Murugan Ashwin (2-31), the Lions were able to keep the scoreboard ticking over through McCullum and Suresh Rania, who went for a run-a-ball 24.

McCullum top-edged Ishant Sharma to Du Plessis and Raina became Murugan's second victim but Bravo steered Gujarat home, hitting three boundaries and a six in his 10 balls faced as the Lions won the battle of the IPL's two new franchises.