Finch blasts Gujarat to crushing win over Bangalore in IPL

BENGALURU: Aaron Finch blasted Gujarat Lions off the bottom of the Indian Premier League and virtually ended Royal Challengers Bangalore's playoff hopes in a seven-wicket victory on Thursday.

Finch hit 72 runs off 34 balls to lead the Lions from slightly wobbling to the brink of victory. Captain Suresh Raina finished with a rush for the Lions to total 135-3 in the 14th over, in reply to Bangalore's dismal 134 all out.

Bangalore has reached the final three times, including last year, but batting has let the side down, surprisingly in a side featuring Virat Kohli, Chris Gayle, and AB de Villiers. Kohli has hit two half-centuries in this campaign, and Gayle and de Villiers one each. None fired in this home game.

Kohli was out for 10, fellow opener Gayle for 8, and de Villiers run out for 5. At that point, Bangalore was 60-5 in less than 10 overs. At least that was better than its 49 all out four days ago.

Gujarat medium-pacer Andrew Tye took a match-winning 3-12 in his four overs, and spinner Ravindra Jadeja earned two wickets to double his tournament tally, plus a catch, and the run out of de Villiers.

After Bangalore was all out in consecutive games for the first time, Gujarat started shakily when openers Ishant Kishan, 16, and Brendon McCullum, 3, were out early.

Raina stayed patient while Finch arrived and lifted the pressure when he launched his second and third balls for sixes.

Finch laid into medium-pacer Aniket Choudhary for 16 runs in the ninth over, and hit successive sixes off spinner Pawan Negi.

Finch was out in the 13th over, when he pulled Negi to long on. His 72 included six sixes and five boundaries.

Raina finished off the match 10 balls later, reaching 34 not out to become the league leading run-scorer.