Riding on strong batting line-ups, Gujarat Lions and Kolkata Knight Riders faced each other to kickstart their respective IPL seasons. As the match was played on a batting friendly wicket, runs were sure to flow and at the end, there were plenty.
Chris Lynn certainly and deservingly made the headlines while Gautam Gambhir was outstanding. The result of their magnificent batting is a record-breaking opening partnership in IPL.
However, along with this stunning opening partnership, there were some more talking points from this game. Here we present the top four talking points from this match.
#1 Raina scores a fifty and also becomes the highest run getter in IPL
After losing his place in the national team, Suresh Raina recently failed to bag a central contract from the BCCI. Hence, questions over his future are looming but the Gujarat Lions captain today made a strong statement about his form by scoring a crucial half-century. The southpaw with his innings of 68 has announced that it is too early to write him off.
He came to the crease with the score reading 22 for 1 and then kept one end guarded till the end. Raina ensured that the scoreboard was kept ticking during the middle overs and also provided a fabulous finish courtesy of his terrific partnership with Dinesh Karthik.
Rain, meanwhile, also became the highest run getter in IPL. The left-hander had been a key factor of CSK’s consistent performance since the advent of the tournament. Ten years on and he looks as fine he ever has in the number three position.
Luck certainly played a vital role for Raina as he was dropped twice and was fortunate to not get run out. But even then Raina looked solid and this is certainly a good omen for his fans and Gujarat Lions.
#2 Kuldeep continues to impress
The moment Kuldeep Yadav entered competitive cricket he garnered several eyeballs thanks to his unorthodox bowling style. The chinaman then gained further attention when he enjoyed a dream debut as he picked up four wickets on day one of a Test. Thus, plenty of eyes were closely watching him as he played his first match of this season.
And Kuldeep Yadav didn’t disappoint his fans. He bowled with control and made batting difficult that offered little help for bowlers. In the first over, he was smacked by McCullum but the chinaman bowler came back strongly and gave away only 13 runs in his next three overs. He got McCullum’s wicket on a straighter one and his googly was instrumental in getting rid of Aaron Finch.
Due to Kuldeep’s stunning performance in the middle overs, KKR managed to restrict Gujarat Lions below 200.
#3 The Chris Lynn show
Everything else will be sidelined and this encounter between Gujarat Lions and KKR will be remembered for the Chris Lynn show. Stamped as a number three batsman due to his exploits in the Big Bash at that position, Kolkata took a risk of promoting the Australian as an opener and their risk provided hefty returns.
Lynn showed began the carnage in the second over itself and sent Dhawal Kulkarni for a massive six. He bettered his effort in the third over and thrashed Manpreet Gony for a gigantic six. But the best of the lot came in Dwayne Smith’s first over of the night when Lynn smashed three sixes off of the West Indian’s bowling. It was the not only the number of sixes but also the distance those sixes covered that made spectators watch with awe.
Although Lynn was unbelievable with his powerful stroke making, Gautam Gambhir with his sublime 76 not out was instrumental in ensuring Lynn continues to have the license to go for the big hits. Together, they drove the Knights home with 31 balls to spare.
#4 Dropped catches
The IPL involves finest cricketers from all over the world. Hence, fans expect high-quality cricket and generally, the standard of cricket in this tournament is genuinely high. But, today we saw some ordinary ground fiddling and pathetic catching.
Trent Boult was incredible with his fielding effort but there were plenty of dropped catches which surely do not match this level.
Suresh Raina and Dinesh Karthik were dropped by Kuldeep Yadav and Yusuf Pathan respectively while Chris Lynn was dropped twice on two consecutive deliveries. Both teams must have noticed this issue and will be looking to work on it in the next games.
#5 The toothless Gujarat bowling needs help
No doubt T-20 is a batsman’s game but the short structure of this format, in fact, puts more onus on the bowlers. Flat wickets and shorter boundaries to some extent make batting line-ups from both sides fearsome and hence it is the quality of bowling attack that decides the winner. And Gujarat Lions seems to have learnt this lesson the hard way.
In this game, Lions loaded their batting with four high-quality overseas batsmen. However, in this process, they had to compromise on their bowling department and were forced to play five Indian bowlers who had limited international success to their name.
The result was devastating as Chris Lynn tore apart their bowling unit and cruised to KKR’s target of 184. Gujarat’s bowling was so toothless that they couldn’t even pick up a single wicket in 15 overs.
Suresh Raina and team management will have to consolidate their bowling department before taking the field for the next game otherwise the result of the first match is sure to repeat.