Published: Tue, April 18, 2017
Sports | By Nelson Rowe

IPL 2017: Clinical Gujarat Lions beat Rising Pune Supergiant by 7 wkts

Nitish Rana took over as the leading run-scorer in the Indian Premier League and Mitchell McClenaghan starred with the ball as Mumbai Indians beat Gujarat Lions by six wickets to go top of the table. The Lions also gave forgotten man Manpreet Gony his first IPL in four years by picking him in the auctions.

But the likes of McCullum and Finch have failed to live upto their reputations so far, garnering just 40 and 18 runs respectively in the first two games.

Mumbai Indians: 177/4 in 19.3 overs.

The Mumbai Indians lead in the early standings after three victories from four matches, while the Royal Challengers have one win from four games.

Although Raina began with boundaries, one to fine-leg and the other to square-leg, it was McCullum who took on Lasith Malinga and Jasprit Bumrah. Bought by Chennai Super Kings in the IPL 2015 auction, and by Gujarat Lions a year later, Tye spent a considerable amount of time bowling to worldwide batsmen in the nets and this, he believes, has allowed his game to develop quite well. As the two were looking good, Harbhajan (1/22 in 4 overs) stuck in the 12th over removing Raina (28 off 29 balls), who was caught by MI skipper Rohit Sharma as the visitors lost their second wicket on 81.

Later in the game with the asking rate climbing, Kieron Pollard produced some meaty hits to Dwayne Smith and Andrew Tye in the 15th and 17th over with fours and sixes coming easily. He has been bowled twice and trapped twice for lbw, although he got a rough deal from the umpire against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) at the Wankhede Stadium. Another area of concern is skipper Rohit Sharma's inability to read the googly - three times he was dismissed by the wrong 'un from Imran Tahir, Rashid Khan and Badree.

But Gujarat Lions main problem lies in its bowling unit which lacks teeth and experience.

English batsman Jason Roy, who came to play down the order this time, contributed with 14 runs (not out).

When Rana and Buttler were removed within two overs over each other midway through the innings it looked like Mumbai might be wobbling, but experienced pair Pollard and Sharma steadied the ship.

Karthik, striking at 145.45 this season, took the slow pitch out of the equation with clean hitting, excellent placement and desperate running in his unbeaten 48 off 26. With quick runs the need of the hour, it was Nitish Rana who took charge of the run-chase while designated power-hitter Jos Buttler sat back and played the sheet-anchor's role.

Kieron Pollard (39 of 23 balls) also did his bit with some lusty blows to make it easier for the skipper to add finishing touches.

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