BCCI
Aaron Finch bludgeoned 72 of 34 BCCI

Aaron Finch went all guns blazing and hammered a 34-ball 72, helping Gujarat Lions (GL) pip Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) by 7 wickets with 37 balls to spare at M Chinnaswamy Stadium. This also meant that the Royal Challengers’ run rate took a hit, scaling down to -1.401. Meanwhile, the Lions jumped to No. 6 from bottom of the points table. Overall, it was a sound all-round performance that pushed the Lions ahead in the race. Their bowlers played well as cohesive unit and limited the batting-heavy Royal Challengers to 134 in match 31 of Indian Premier League (IPL). Full Cricket Scorecard: Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) vs Gujarat Lions (GL) IPL 2017, Match 31 at Bengaluru

Ishan Kishan continued his stellar show after pouching a ripper diving forward in the first innings. He partnered Brendon McCullum at the opening slot after Suresh Raina decided to push Finch down the order. Making full use of the opportunity, he dispatched every loose delivery on offer, bludgeoning 3 fours off Samuel Badree. However, Badree had the last laugh when he bowled a flatter trajectory to trap Kishan in front for 16. Though Kishan may not have provided the expected impetus, his fearless strokeplay set the tone for the Lions.

As fate would have it, McCullum played his 100th IPL match at the very venue he had set IPL ablaze with his magnificent 158 against the same opposition back in 2008 albeit for a different franchise. With a target much less than his highest score, the task was of a lesser magnitude. Facing him was Badree, who had dismissed him twice in T20s giving away only 26 off 34. The battle came to the fore once again, and Badree took the cake. McCullum, in the process of clearing the long-on boundary, found AB de Villiers.

Finch finally joined Raina in the middle. Despite losing 2 early wickets, he dropped the anchor right away. He took only 2 balls to register his first six, lofting it on the roof of deep mid-wicket. He followed it up with a hit downtown. After 5 overs, the Lions were 38 for 2.

The rest of the report will read the same, for Finch was in no-nonsense mood. To put things into perspective, he reduced Raina to playing second-fiddle, a rare scene especially in IPL. Finch went on to blast the fastest half-century for the Lions. Raina, at the other end, had his share of luck. While trying to play the Raina-special heave over deep mid-wicket, he found a fielder. However, Chahal overstepped to gift Raina a lifeline. That, or anything else, did not affect Finch to the remotest. Using his brute force, he peppered boundaries flummoxing the Royal Challengers in their own den. Full cricket updates: RCB vs GL, IPL 2017

The Lions sealed the deal in a matter of 13.5 overs, clinching their second win against the Royal Challengers in 5 games.

Unlike the Lions, the Royal Challengers had a tough time managing their line and lengths. Barring Sreenath Aravind, all bowlers conceded over 9 an over. On the other hand, three of six Lions bowlers gave under 6 runs an over.

Ravindra Jadeja, who had the worst economy as well as average before this contest (minimum 50 balls), took 2 for 28 today. Before that, Andre Tye had taken 2 wickets with his first 2 balls. He eventually ended with figures of 3 for 12. Amidst a disciplined bowling performance, only two batters from the Royal Challengers camp scored in 30s. Virat Kohli, Chris Gayle, and de Villiers added only 23 runs between them.

Brief scores:

Royal Challengers Bangalore 134 in 20 overs (Pawan Negi 32, Kedar Jadhav 31; Andrew Tye 3 for 12, Ravindra Jadeja 2 for 28) beat Gujarat Lions 135 for 3 in 13.5 overs (Aaron Finch 72, Suresh Raina 34*; Samuel Badree 2 for 29) by 7 wickets with 37 balls to spare.

Man of the Match: Andrew Tye.

Full scorecard