The result: Rising Pune Supergiant 8-171 (Smith 43, Tye 5-17) lost to Gujarat Lions 3-172 (McCullum 49, Thakur 1-14) by seven wickets.
The match in a tweet: Debutant makes it look easy! Aussie Andrew Tye dominates in first IPL outing with five wickets and a hat-trick to secure win.
The damaging debutant: The Gujarat Lions might be questioning why they waited three games to unleash the Aussie T20 specialist that is Tye. The speedster hadn’t featured in last year’s edition of the competition and took his first opportunity and ran with it, claiming a match-winning 5-17 including the IPL’s 16th hat-trick. Just three hours after Royal Challengers Bangalore bowler Samuel Badree achieved the rare feat, it was Tye’s turn, claiming Ankit Sharma and Manoj Tiwary caught on the fence before an unbelievably disguised slower ball removed Shardul Thakur, knocking out middle stump and capping a remarkable first game for the Western Australian.
The top-order tyranny: In search of 172 for victory, the Gujarat Lions made a fast start, taking the upper hand in the first eight overs. After dropping Englishman Jason Roy for Tye, the Gujarat top-order needed to deliver, with Dwayne Smith (47) and Brendon McCullum (49) coming through with the goods. The pair went at 12 an over throughout their stand, blasting 10 fours and three sixes against a powerless Supergiant attack. After their partnership of 94 was broken, two more quick wickets ensued before a fast finishing Suresh Raina (35no) and Aaron Finch (33no) chased down the total and gave a much-needed nudge to the net-run-rate, lifting themselves off the bottom of the table in a role reversal with the Supergiant.
Torrid Tahir: For the first time in his T20 career, Imran (1-53) leaked ten boundaries from his four overs, highlighting a tough day at the office for the South African spinner. He fared horrendously against a rampaging McCullum, surrendering 30 runs from nine deliveries against the former Blackcap, as Smith, Raina and Finch all took the wrist-spinner apart. He bowled Dinesh Karthik with a well-executed wrong-un that the Indian chopped on after being deceived in flight, the one ray of light in an otherwise gloomy – and rare – spell of bowling.
The Aussie Pack: It was an Aussie assault on both sides of the match, with Steve Smith the star with the bat for the Supergiant with a classy 43, before Aaron Finch went one better, capping the game with two huge sixes and finishing on an unbeaten 33. But the plaudits – and the man of the match award – go to Tye for his dominance with the ball, claiming the ninth-best bowling figures in IPL history, sitting behind fellow Aussies Adam Zampa and James Faulkner on that list, with his 5-17 the best figures of his T20 career.
The fallout: After registering their first win of the IPL this year, Gujarat now face top-of-the-table Mumbai Indians on Sunday night, before the Rising Pune Supergiant head to Bangalore to face Virat Kohli’s RCB, with both team’s desperate for victory to stay in contention for a spot in the playoffs.