IPL 2016 has brought about a new variation in the form of 2 new teams in Gujrat Lions and Rising Pune Supergiants – both consisting of nucleus players from the currently dissolved Chennai Super Kings.

Rising Pune Supergiants vs Gujarat Lions
Date 29 Apr 2016
Venue Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium
195/3 (20)   196/7 (20)
Gujarat Lions won by 3 wickets

They already met in this season once, which was the 6th match of the season – in which Gujarat Lions came out as the easy winners, winning the match by 7 wickets and with 12 balls to spare (chasing 164).

Since that match to the 25th match of IPL 2016, while Gujarat has grown strength to strength, Pune has had a very sorry tale in IPL 2016 – losing key players and failing to strengthen their balance in the side, Pune finds itself at the bottom of the table, in spite of being led by perhaps one of world’s finest captain in MS Dhoni.

In the 25th match of the tournament, Pune and Gujarat took on each other for the 2nd time in the tournament. Gujarat won the toss and elected to bowl first.

Finch remained out; Tambe injured himself during training which allowed the unorthodox spinner in Shivil Kaushik to get a go-ahead (bowls spinner to South Africa’s now retired spin bowler in Adams). Dhoni made the change of bringing IN Handscomb (young Australian batsman) in place of Mitchell Marsh.

Due to the forced change at the top order – due to injury to Faf Du Plessis who missed out in today’s game (Australian batsman in Usman Khwaja has been called in as his replacement). The role of Du Plessis was taken over by Saurabh Tiwary. The move didn’t work as Tiwary was yet again unable to catch eye-balls for his batting and it was yet another quite stay for him at the crease- getting dismissed for 1.

Initially the pitch looked difficult to bat on; Rahane was visibly struggling to time the ball in general, apart from a few good shots here and there. The major aggressor was Steve Smith – who for the first time in IPL 2016 looked to be settled and in the mood to play a big innings.

Rahane was dismissed after making a 53 off 45 – he was heard saying to the commentators through players mic that he wasn’t happy with the way he played in the match, he was unable to time the ball but the only satisfaction he took from the innings was that he got a crucial 50, which is quite true.

Smith got to his first century in t20 cricket which guided Pune’s score to 195 – a few big hits from Dhoni in his 18 ball 30 played an instrumental role in giving the innings a final big push.

In it’s chase, the Gujarat Lions found yet another formidable opening stand between Dwayne Smith and McCullum – who took the team off to a flyer, 93-0 in 8 overs before McCullum was dismissed by Bhatia on 43.

The next wicket of Smith fell in the 11th over – but it was the partnership between Raina and Karthik which took the innings forward, Gujarat Lions never really looked out of the chase and it did seem that it’ll take something really special from Pune to get back into the match but it wasn’t to be.

A few hiccups in the end from Gujarat, losing 2 wickets in 2 balls – first Bravo and then Jadeja did peg back the run scoring and raised a few tensed eye brows of Gujarat Lions fans.

We saw a bold move from Dhoni, handing over the last over to Perera (instead of M Ashwin who gave away only 4 runs in the 18th over and 22 in his 3).

It seemed that this move will fail miserably as Perera gave away a 4 on the very first delivery of the over, Perera clearly didn’t look like the apt choice for the last over but following up the poor delivery was the wicket of Raina (clean bowled) and then a run out of Ishan Kishan (run-out from Saurabh Tiwari from mid-off), it seemed Pune might just snatch a victory out of Gujarat’s hands but it wasn’t to be as they required 1 run off 1 ball, which Faulkner was able to accomplish and thus another close match went against the Rising Pune Supergiants.

Stat : R Ashwin has had a very poor IPL 2016, managing to get only 2 wickets in his 22 overs. It’s performance the out of form Ashwin that is hurting Pune’s chances of seizing victories in this season. Additionally, they can also give a go to Irfan Pathan whose been warming the bench without much justification, having given just 7 runs in 1 over in the only chance he got this season.

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