Bengaluru, May 24 (IANS) The Gujarat Lions set Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) a target of 159 runs in the India Premier League’s first qualifier at the Chinnaswamy Stadium here on Tuesday after Dwayne Smith (73) saved the day for the visitors, enabling them to cross 150 runs.
After openers Brendon McCullum (1) and Aaron Finch (4) departed in the second over off left-arm spinner Iqbal Abdullah, Smith rose to the rescue of his team with 73 runs in 41 balls, smashing five fours and six sixes.
Attempting a huge shot in the very first ball of the second over, McCullum only managed to give A.B. De Villiers at the long-off a simple catch, while in the same over, Finch was safely held by Chris Gayle in the first slip.
With just nine runs on the score board and two wickets down, Gujarat lost another crucial wicket, Suresh Raina (1) caught by Sreenath Aravind off Shane Watson’s bowling in the fourth over.
With the top order crumbling, no boundaries were hit even after four overs, until Smith hit two in the fifth over.
Only Dinesh Karthik (26) and Eklavya Dwivedi (19) made some contribution with the bat to put a respectable total, while other batsmen fizzled – Ravindra Jadeja (3), Dwayne Bravo (8), Praveen Kumar (5) and Dhawal Kulkarni (6).
After 15 overs, the Lions managed a score of 104/4 but Smith and Dwivedi powered it ahead until Royal Challengers captain Virat Kohli held two excellent catches in the long on area to send back Smith and Dwivedi, who had hit two sixes in the 19th over off Watson.
Electing to field first after winning the toss helped Kohli in not allowing a big total to the Lions, ably helped by his bowlers.
Watson 4/29 produced the best bowling figures, followed by Chris Jordan with 2/26 and Abdulla with 2/38, while bowling mainstay Yuzvendra Chahal managed only a wicket.
Brief Scores: Gujarat Lions 158 in 20 overs (Dwayne Smith 73, Dinesh Karthik 26; Shane Watson 4/29, Chris Jordan 2/26)