The Indian Premier League has had numerous memorable moments now into its 10th edition this year. Although the Gujarat Lions franchise is fairly new to the tournament having joined it in the previous year, they have given us a lot of memories to savour.
And whenever they have gone up against the Mumbai Indians, it has always been a belter of a match to watch. Since last year, the two teams have faced each other on three occasions with the Gujarat Lions winning two and the Mumbai Indians winning one, which came earlier this year.
When they will again go up against each other at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Rajkot on Saturday, the spectators should expect to see sparks flying again like in the previous occasions. All three previous encounters between these two sides were quite close ones.
The Mumbai Indians won against the Lions with their maiden victory against them at the Wankhede Stadium in their first encounter of this edition and will be looking to ride on that momentum to notch up another victory over the Lions.
Let us have a look at some of the finest moments from the matches between these two sides throughout IPL history.
#1 Aaron Finch takes Gujarat Lions to a thrilling victory in 2016 with an unbeaten 67
Winning the toss and electing to bowl first, Gujarat restricted Mumbai to a low total of 143/8 at their own den. The Lions bowlers bowled well in tandem and didn’t allow any of the Mumbai batsmen to get off to quick starts. As a result, the pressure was mounted on the Mumbai batsmen and wickets kept falling at regular intervals as they tried to up the ante.
They could manage only 143 at the end which meant the bowlers and fielders had to give more than their 100 percent if they wanted to defend that total.
The Mumbai bowlers responded to the situation very well and kept striking at regular intervals. However, it was opener Aaron Finch who kept fighting with the bat. On one hand, he held up one end as wickets fell from the other and didn’t let the run rate climb. He kept his cool in the tensest situation when the Lions needed 11 of the last over to be bowled by death overs specialist Jasprit Bumrah.
With the help of Kulkarni who smashed one boundary on the third ball of the over, the equation boiled down to three runs off just two balls for Finch. He took a couple of runs on the penultimate ball which meant the Lions needed one run on the last ball. And Finch finished it off in style, pulling a short ball outside the off stump to the deep mid-wicket boundary for a four. Finch was adjudged the ‘Man of the Match’ for the third consecutive time in that edition.
#2 McClenaghan’s spell that almost snatched victory away from the Lions (2016)
McClenaghan has been a revelation for the Mumbai Indians with the ball since he joined their squad. And on their first ever IPL encounter against the Gujarat Lions at Mumbai, The Kiwi fast bowler bowled an inspirational spell to revive Mumbai’s hopes of a victory in a match which otherwise seemed to be lost.
McClenaghan claimed the prized scalp of Gujarat Lions’ skipper Suresh Raina in his first spell. And when Gujarat seemed like running away with the match, he came on to bowl in the 16th over and claimed three wickets in two back-to-back overs to end up with bowling figures of 4-21-4 and thus giving Gujarat a scare of a loss.
Although, Mumbai still lost the match, McClenaghan’s spell will still go down as one of the finest in IPL history.
#3 Nitish Rana’s whirlwind innings of 70 (36) that took the Lions by surprise at Kanpur (2016)
Rana has become quite a familiar face in this edition of IPL having scored three fifties so far for the Mumbai Indians. However, his ‘claim to fame’ came in the previous edition when he played a whirlwind innings of 70 runs off just 36 balls against the Gujarat Lions at Kanpur in 2016.
Coming in to bat at No. 3, Rana started dealing with the bowlers in a belligerent manner. He struck seven fours and four humongous sixes en route to his innings of 70. It looked like he was batting on a completely different pitch and scoring freely whereas the other senior batsmen failed to deliver with the bat.
It was his efforts with the bat that took Mumbai to a competitive total of 172/8. Although it was chased down later on by the Gujarat Lions with ease, Rana’s innings will be remembered as one of the finest by the rising Indian batting talents.
#4 Raina and McCullum undid young Rana’s maiden IPL fifty (2016)
Although it was Rana from the Mumbai Indians who produced something special on that day in Kanpur, Brendon McCullum and Suresh Raina made sure that Rana’s heroics didn’t cost them the match. McCullum and Raina made their way to 48 (27) and 58 (36) in no time and took the match completely away from the Mumbai Indians.
At the start, it was McCullum who was doing the bulk of the scoring and dealing in boundaries after Aaron Finch departed cheaply. And after McCullum’s dismissal, it was Raina who broke the shackles and went berserk.
Although none of them remained unbeaten until the end, they set the platform for Dwayne Smith (37*) and Ravindra Jadeja (21*) to come in and finish off the match. Raina was also adjudged the ‘Man of the Match’ for his innings of 58.
#5 Nitish Rana’s knock of 53 that helped Mumbai win this time (2017)
Batting first, the Gujarat Lions put up a challenging total of 176/4 against the Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. Brendon McCullum’s 64 (48) set the tone for this kind of total. However, this time, Nitish Rana made sure that his knock of 53 runs off just 36 balls took his team to victory.
Walking out to bat at No. 3, Rana took on the toothless Lions bowling attack and hit the bowlers all around the park. By the time he departed in the 10th over, Mumbai had already scored 85 runs, with Rana having contributed more than half of the runs.
The good platform set by Rana was later used by skipper Rohit Sharma (40*) and Kieron Pollard (39) to chase down the total.