IPL 2016, MI vs GL: On one leg, Aaron Finch takes Gujarat Lions home

Gujarat make three-in-three after Australian opener Aaron Finch overcomes stiff thigh to snuff out Mumbai’s hopes.

Written by Sriram Veera | Mumbai | Updated: April 17, 2016 10:29 am
mi vs gl, gl vs mi, ipl 2016, ipl, indian premier league, mumbai vs gujarat, gujarat vs mumbai, aaron finch, finch, cricket news, cricket Gujarat Lions’ Aaron Finch celebrates after hitting the winning runs against the Mumbai Indians at Wankhede. (Source: PTI)

Synopsis: Mumbai locals — fast and slow — pull the chain on MI on their homecoming. Mitchell McClenaghan casts a death-ly spell, but Lion Aaron Finch shepherds yet another run-chase.

Mumbai Local: Fast

Admittedly, it was set up by an excellent first over by Praveen Kumar but Dhawal Kulkarni came up with a perfect follow-up, and finishing act, to remove Rohit Sharma. Praveen had tested Rohit with a series of away swingers with the occasional incoming delivery. Rohit was once squared up by a fuller outswinger that got the leading edge. Kulkarni followed it up smartly with full deliveries, and though Rohit timed the first through covers, he was swallowed at square-leg by a fullish delivery that came in a bit which he ended up flicking around the front pad. Kulkarni kept Hardik Pandya honest with seaming deliveries that went this way and the other, before he had his man with a bouncer that was tamely pulled to Jakati again. At the end of his career, Kulkarni might well wonder whether he has done full justice to his innate talent. On his good days — that seems to occur when the batsmen don’t go after him as something does break down in his bowling when he is collared initially — he manages to seam the ball both ways, and even get the ball to curve away a touch in the air albeit slightly early in its trajectory.

He even chipped in a vital game-turning four in the final over. With 8 needed of four, Kulkarni blasted a length delivery from Jasprit Bumrah over mid-off to ease the nerves in the Gujarat camp. They had needed 11 when the final over started and Kulkarni not only smashed that boundary but also rotated the strike next ball to bring back Aaron Finch on strike, who calmly finished off the job.

Lion shepherds chase

Finch once made 73 from 261 minutes to lift Victoria out of trouble but by and large has been making his name for his violent hitting at the top of the order. Perennially sporting a crew cut — even in his old photographs he has the same style — and looking like WWE star Triple H, he has scored a hat-trick of fifties to ensure Gujarat win all three games. Saturday night’s knock though wasn’t a violent one.

Instead, he carved, cut, and punched his way to take the game to the last over. He had some problems against spin, especially against Harbhajan Singh, but he managed to edge couple of fours to thirdman boundary. He wasn’t in much trouble against the rest but battled a stiff thigh near the end that needed the physio’s attention. Once Kulkarni returned the strike back to him in the final over, he calmly took a two before pulling a four off the final delivery.

A death-ly spell

If not for his father, Mitch McCLenaghan would still be bowling medium pace. These days, he runs up briskly and whips the ball down furiously. He showed a penchant for bouncers — traditional and slower variety — to pick up three wickets. Unsurprisingly, the first victim was Suresh Raina, who was hurried into his pull shot and could only sky it upwards for the keeper to settle under it. He then removed Akshdeep Nath, a player from the World Cup-winning U-19 squad of 2012, with another bouncer in the 17th over. In the penultimate over, with the equation reading 13 off two, McClenaghan conceded just two, and also picked up the wickets of James Faulkner and Praveen Kumar. Faulkner was done in by the slower bouncer that was edged to Parthiv Patel, and Kumar edged an attempted glide for a diving catch to Parthiv. He nearly won the match single-handedly for Mumbai but was done in by Kulkarni and Finch.

Mumbai Local: Slow

It’s not clear at what exact point when he positions himself under the skiers that Dwayne Bravo thinks about the post-catch celebratory Champion dance. The moment it popped up in his mind when he was about to pouch the lofted offering of Kieron Pollard also was the moment when it was clear that Mumbai’s batting was going to sink. Pollard’s exit made it 4 for 59, and was the second wicket to fall for the addition of just eight runs in eight balls.

Pravin Tambe’s loopy legbreak had tempted Pollard who succumbed to the urge and just leaned out, without ever getting really forward, for the hit and it didn’t have the legs to clear long-off. It was Tambe who removed Mumbai Indians’ top scorer Parthiv Patel. It skidded on from back of a length and Patel couldn’t get much power behind his pull and holed out at deep midwicket.

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