Chris Lynn hammered an unbeaten knock of 93 runs off 41 balls to power Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) to a 10-wicket victory over Gujarat Lions (GL) in the third match of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2017 at Rajkot. Chasing a daunting target of 184, Lynn combined with Gautam Gambhir to make mincemeat of the opposition bowling attack, powering Kolkata Knight Riders to their first 10-wicket win. Kolkata Knight Riders chased down the target in a mere 14.5 overs, winning the game with as many as 31 balls to spare. On his part, Gambhir scored 76 not out, whereas Suresh Raina had earlier hit a fluent 68 not out to take Gujarat Lions to 183 for 4. Let us take a look at the highlights. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: Gujarat Lions (GL) vs Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), IPL 2017
Raina goes past Virat Kohli: Raina might have been away from the national side for a while, but there is no stopping him as far as IPL is concerned. Early on in his innings, Raina managed to go past Kohli as the highest run-scorer in IPL history. Raina went on to complete his 29th fifty in the tournament and leapfrogged Kohli in the process. Raina batted with a lot of ease on a batsman friendly wicket at Rajkot, helping his side to a competitive total, only to see it butchered mercilessly by the opposition batsmen.
The lightening Boult: On the second delivery of the 14th over, Raina played towards midwicket. It looked like it would sail over midwicket. But Boult had other plans, as he covered some part of the ground and leapt to his left side to catch the ball. Realising the need to release the ball, Boult threw it in cleanly and saved at least 4 runs for his team.
Kuldeep’s brain freeze: On a day wherein both the teams made elementary mistakes, Kuldeep’s brain-freeze moment stood out. Raina and Dinesh Karthik got into an embarrassing mix-up. Kuldeep, the bowler, collected the throw cleanly that came in from deep midwicket and long-on. Raina, who was forced to take the second run, would have been run out had Kuldeep thrown the ball at striker’s end. But surprisingly, Kuldeep only made a gesture to throw the ball and watched Raina to make it in safely.
Pujara in the house: Despite piling on a mountain of runs and shattering the records during India’s home season, Pujara’s credentials for T20 cricket fell on deaf ears. The world No. 2 batsman in Test cricket was thus watched cricket from the pavilion in his hometown, as despite desperate attempts he failed to find a taker.
Lynnsanity strikes: Having created waves Down Under in Big Bash League (BBL) with his explosive batting, it was about time for Chris Lynn to make his presence felt in the IPL as well. Lynn smacked what might eventually turn out to be one of the most brutal knocks seen in this IPL, clobbering 8 sixes and 6 boundaries to race to 93 not out off 41 balls. His innings was studded with powerful strokes slammed down the ground, as Lynn showcased KKR’s firepower by coming ahead of Robin Uthappa and making a record stand.
Gambhir helps KKR maintain unique feat: If there is Rohit Sharma’s Mumbai Indians (MI) who have lost each of their first match in the last five seasons, there are Kolkata Knight Riders who have won each of their opening games since 2013. Gambhir, who became KKR captain in 2011, has led his team adroitly. He was at his best in the run-chase even though Lynn hogged all limelight with his powerful batting. Gambhir, in fact at one stage, was ahead of Lynn in terms of getting runs. Gambhir finished with 12 boundaries to score 76 not out, which played a vital role in KKR’s first-ever 10-wicket win.
KKR’s record stand: Gambhir and Lynn added an unbeaten 184-run stand for the first wicket. They bettered the previous best stand for the opening wicket in IPL history. Chris Gayle and Tillakaratne Dilshan had added 167 for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) against Pune Warriors India (PWI) in IPL 2013. The partnership between Gambhir and Lynn also helped KKR register their first-ever 10-wicket victory.
Karthik’s frustration: Gujarat Lions had a poor outing in the field, add more to their frustration. After doing all the hard work of getting a big total, Gujarat Lions lost the plot against KKR’s ruthless attack. While there was no stopping Lynn and Gambhir who were at their best, the least Karthik could have done as a wicketkeeper was to save extra runs. The ball went past Karthik on a couple of occasion when he would have stopped it on other day, but what was surprising to see the senior cricketer lose his composure on a mistake. On one occasion, he flung one of his wicket-keeping gloves in the air, looking angry over himself for committing that error. Certainly, it would have been tough to see his hard work (of scoring 47 off 25 balls) being brought down.