Kanpur, May 21 (IANS) Young promising batsman Nitish Rana smashed a quickfire 70 off just 36 balls to guide Mumbai Indians to an imposing 172/8 in 20 overs against Gujarat Lions in an Indian Premier League (IPL) clash here on Saturday.
En route his maiden IPL half-century, the young left-handed batsman struck seven boundaries and four sixes with a strike rate of over 194.
Put into bat, skipper Rohit Sharma (30) got the defending champions off to a good start in the first three overs. But Dhawal Kulkarni got the much needed breakthrough in the fourth over dismissing Rohit to have Mumbai at 33/1.
His opening partner New Zealander Martin Guptill (7) too fell cheaply followed by Krunal Pandya (4) without troubling the opposition bowlers much. With three quick wickets, Mumbai were struggling at 45/3 inside the powerplay.
But incoming batsmen Rane and Jos Buttler (33) held their nerves and played sensibly without losing any more wickets to take the team past the 100-run mark after 12 overs.
The duo put up a crucial 75-run partnership for the fourth wicket before Buttler was dismissed by a superb caught and bowled by West Indian Dwayne Bravo.
Mumbai were 120/4 in the 14th over then.
Despite the wicket of Buttler, Rana played his natural game with Kieron Pollard (9) at the other end.
The impressive innings by Rana came to an end in the 17th over with Bravo dismissing the left-handed batsman. But by then Mumbai were over the 150-run mark.
Pollard too headed back to the pavilion in the 18th over to help Gujarat make a comeback into the game in the death overs.
Dwayne Bravo (2-22), Praveen Kumar (2-24), Dwayne Smith (2-37) and Dhawal Kulkarni (2-41) were the pick of the Gujarat bowlers.
Brief Scores: Mumbai Indians 172/8 in 20 overs (Nitish Rana 70; Dwayne Bravo 2-22, Praveen Kumar 2-24, Dwayne Smith 2-37, Dhawal Kulkarni 2-41)