Dwayne Smith © AFP
Dwayne Smith scored a potentially match-winning half-century © AFP

Iqbal Abdulla and Shane Watson reduced Gujarat Lions (GL) to 9 for 3 before Dwayne Smith made a brilliant counterattacking 73 that took his side to 158 all out against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in Qualifier 1 of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2016 at Bengaluru on Tuesday. Sreenath Aravind opened bowling and started well before Abdulla struck twice in the second over to take out both opening batsmen, Brendon McCullum and Aaron Finch. Watson then came on to bowl first-change and snapped up Suresh Raina as well to leave GL in the mire at 9 for 3. Live Cricket Scorecard: Gujarat Lions vs Royal Challengers Bangalore, IPL 2016 Qualifier 1 at Bengaluru

Aravind started with a probing first over which produced just 2 runs. That, combined with the pressure of a playoff match, prompted McCullum to go big over cover off the left-arm spin of Abdulla. He did not find the middle of the bat, and ended up giving an easy chance to AB de Villiers. Finch got a risky boundary but edged to Chris Gayle at slip a couple of balls later. Skipper Raina, batting at No. 3, was not able to make an impression, pulling a short-ish ball from Watson straight to Aravind at short fine leg. GL were now in tatters at 9 for 3. Live Cricket Blog: Gujarat Lions vs Royal Challengers Bangalore, IPL 2016 Qualifier 1 at Bengaluru

That brought in Smith. The West Indian all-rounder cracked back-to-back boundaries off Abdulla off the fifth and sixth balls he faced, and followed up with a superb six off Chris Jordan. A couple of quiet overs followed, but Smith still had a lot in store. GL were 42 for 3 after 9 overs before Smith cut loose. The 10th over, bowled by Yuzvendra Chahal, went for 16 runs which included a six and two fours. Smith hit Chahal for another six in his next over as well before laying into Abdulla. Smith got to his half-century with a four and a six, reaching the landmark off 32 balls.

Jordan finally had Dinesh Karthik bowled for a hard-working 26 off 30 balls. Smith kept going, but GL again started losing wickets at the other end. Ravindra Jadeja slashed to Gayle off Watson for 3 before Chahal finally got the big wicket of Smith, caught brilliantly by Kohli at long on. Smith had scored a potentially game-changing 73 off 41 balls.

The young Eklavya Dwivedi managed to hit a couple of sparkling shots before holing out to Kohli off Watson for 19 off 9 balls. The dismissal provided a bit of drama; Kohli took the catch and threw the ball to the bowler amid no real celebrations. The umpire deemed the batsman not out, so Kohli had to claim the catch and argue his case. The third umpire was consulted and it was deemed that the catch was clean. Dwayne Bravo was bowled off the next ball, but again the third umpire was called upon, this time to check for a back-foot no-ball. Again it was ruled in favour of the bowler, so Watson finished with 4 for 29. Jordan finished off well

Brief scores:

Gujarat Lions 158 in 20 overs (Dwayne Smith 73; Shane Watson 4 for 29) vs Royal Challengers Bangalore.

Full Scorecard

(Shiamak Unwalla, a reporter with CricketCountry, is an animal lover and comic, film and TV geek. A fast bowler at heart, he enjoys watching a good, low-scoring game of cricket. His Twitter handle is @ShiamakUnwalla)