First it was the Rising Pune Supergiants, who outclassed Mumbai Indians in the opening game of the IPL 2016, and now it is the other new franchise, Gujarat Lions (GL), who comprehensively defeated Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) by five wickets in their debut match at the PCA Stadium in Mohali, Monday.
Aaron Finch, who was adjudged the man of the match for his knock of 74 runs from just 47 balls, felt that the 12th over of the first innings from Dwayne Bravo turned the game for them.
Bravo cleaned up Glenn Maxwell and David Miller in the same over, when KXIP were looking at a big total. Later, Praveen Kumar, James Faulkner and Bravo pulled things back further and as a result the home side could only post a total of 161 for the loss of six wickets.
"When you've got two guys like Maxwell and Miller, with the firepower they have got and the six-hitting capability, I suppose, to get them both in the same over, to be able to have two new batters in to dry up (the runs) for a small period there was absolutely crucial," Finch was quoted as saying by cricbuzz. "It was the turning point in their batting innings, I think."
Finch further went on to laud Bravo, who has been a special limited-overs talent for quite some time now. Bravo achieved his career-best T20 figures of four for 22 in his four overs against KXIP, Monday. Bravo, who came up with such performances on quite a few occasions for his former team Chennai Super Kings (CSK), did it again for his new franchise.
"He's been absolutely brilliant for every team that he has played for. For the West Indies, here at Gujarat, even at Chennai he was fantastic," Finch added.
"He's someone who just keeps getting better and better with age and he's not slowing down. He brings so much to the table with bat, ball and field. Very happy that he is on our side."