Gujarat Lions pacer Dhawal Kulkarni was full of praise when talking about opener Aaron Finch, as he claimed the Australian displayed some great character and came up with one of the best innings to help his team to a convincing three-wicket victory against Mumbai Indians on Saturday.
But there was a bit concern over Finch’s hamstring injury and when pressed about that, Kulkarni replied, “We just hoped he continued playing and that’s what he did, he showed great character and helped us win the game and he (Finch) is ok now.”
The Victorian even slammed his helmet into the ground just after he completed a quick second run from the last ball of the 18th over.
He was immediately under stiff attention from the Lions medical staff who was desperately rubbing the Australian’s left hamstring.
Later the Australian big-hitter carried on batting with the dud hammy, but he was not able to sprint between the wickets as the game came down the wire against a surging Mumbai Indians outfit.
While enjoying a blistering form, opener Finch scored 67 not out to single-handedly guide the Lions to a last-ball win against the mighty Mumbai Indians.
“He (Finch) played throughout, it was one of the best innings I have ever witnessed. He batted from the start and made sure we end up on the winning side.” The 27-year-old pacer said at the post-match press conference.
Kulkarni also hit a four in the last over, revealed what he was told to do: “My game plan was to just give him the strike, but anything pitched up I had to slog and luckily (Jasprit) Bumrah bowled a half-volley and I could hit a boundary.”
When speaking about his own bowling performance, the Mumbaikar looked satisfied. “I have had performances like these before as well. I wouldn’t rate this as highly as the ones I have had in the past. It was my first game for Gujarat Lions, a proud moment for me and playing at my home ground is a special feeling. I want to play here, I want to do well here.”
Interestingly, Kulkarni managed to grab the wicket of his Mumbai teammate Rohit Sharma. Was there was any edge to the battle between the pair? The young pacer replied: “I feel I am always there for that battle when you see your teammate facing you, its gives you that extra energy to bowl. He is also such a great player and to take his wicket, it was a great moment for me.”
“I have always looked up to him and he has always helped me out. On Saturday, we were playing each other, so there was no friendship. We just wanted to win,” he further said referring to a healthy competition between him and Rohit.
Overs hitting all over the ground but Kulkarni admits they were not too perturbed by the hammering. “Nothing went wrong, it happens in this format, you may start well, but the batsman tends to slog towards the end. We bowled well actually, just that in patches there were many loose balls.”