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A hat-trick from debutant all-rounder Andrew Tye and sensible top-order batting helped Gujarat Lions (GL) outclass Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) by seven wickets in an Indian Premier League (IPL) 2017 match at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium here on Friday. The 30-year-old Tye bagged five wickets giving away 17 runs, the first in this edition of the IPL, including a hat-trick in the final over of Pune's innings, before the batsmen put on a collective show to chase down the 172 target, with two overs to spare.
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Tye's hat-trick was the second of the day after Royal Challengers Bangalore's leg-spinner Samuel Badree got another in the afternoon game against Mumbai Indians. Gujarat got off to a flier with the opening duo of Dwayne Smith (47) and Brendon McCullum (49) putting on 94 runs with none of the Pune bowlers having an answer to their onslaught. The West Indian started his innings with an unconvincing four to square leg off Ankit Sharma before gaining in confidence with a mammoth six on the fifth ball and then ending the over with another boundary through the covers to milk 16 runs. McCullum did not lag behind either to take fellow New Zealander Lockie Ferguson out of the park for a six over long-off before meting out special treatment to South African leg-spinner Imran Tahir, whose initial two overs cost Pune 35 runs.
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There was no stopping the duo as the hosts rushed to 50 in just over five overs with Pune skipper Steve Smith changing as many as six bowlers before getting the first breakthrough in the form of Dwayne Smith, three short of his half century. Playing his first match of the season, pacer Shardul Thakur's slower delivery did the trick for Pune, when he induced Smith for an uppercut only to be land down the throat of Rahul Chahar at third man. The West Indian's 30-ball knock was laced with eight hits to the fence and one over it. Two overs later, a rush of blood saw McCullum's end, one run short of his half century. The former Kiwi skipper, who had by then faced 32 balls, firing five boundaries and three massive sixes was outsmarted by Chahar, who dragged the length back seeing McCullum coming down the track leaving the rest for stumper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
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The very next over saw the back of stumper Dinesh Karthik (3), who failed to pick Tahir's googly before chopping it back on to his stumps. The loss of three quick wickets saw Gujarat slump to 111/3, before skipper Suresh Raina (35 not out) and Aaron Finch (33 not out) batted sensibly, sharing a 61-run undefeated stand for the fourth wicket to see the team home. Finch appeared to be in a hurry to get his team over the line, lofting two consecutive sixes off Ferguson to take the hosts home. Earlier, Pune's opening woes continued to haunt them with the loss of the in-form Ajinkya Rahane (0) in the very first over. Skipper Smith (43) along with opener Rahul Tripathi (33) launched an onslaught, which medium pacer Praveen Kumar will perhaps remember for a long long time.
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Bowling his third over on the trot, the 30-year-old Praveen was milked for 25 runs, with Tripathi dispatching him for two consecutive sixes and a four before Smith fetched two back to back boundaries as Pune rushed to their fastest IPL 50. As Pune looked set for a massive total, Tye ended the 64-run second wicket stand between the duo, dismissing Tripathi with a slower delivery which the batsman failed to lift and was caught by Aaron Finch at mid-off. Englishman Ben Stokes then joined Smith to add 25 runs before Dwayne Smith got the prized scalp of the Australian, who mistimed a back of a length outside off to be caught at long-on by Finch. Two overs later, Stokes departed to another slower delivery from Tye which knocked off his off-stump, after the IPL 2017's costliest buy faced 18 balls, hitting two boundaries and a six. All-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, playing his first match of the season, immediately provided another breakthrough with the wicket of Dhoni (5), whose form continued to desert him for the fourth consecutive match.