It was just Day 3 and the tenth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) has already witnessed one of the best T20 performances by a team. The Gautam Gambhir-led Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) opened their campaign with an overwhelming 10-wicket win over Gujarat Lions on Friday.
Gambhir along with Australian Chris Lynn chased down the target of 184 with 31 balls to spare at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Rajkot. The match saw a few records being made. The most significant one was surely the fact that it was the highest target chased without losing a wicket in T20 cricket history
Lynn, who had batted at No. 3 for the Brisbane Heat in the recently concluded Big Bash League, was sent ahead of KKR’s usual opener, Robin Uthappa to open the innings with captain Gambhir. This move by the visitors eventually proved to be the turning point in the third group match of IPL 2017.
It was the ninth time in the IPL history that a team had won the match by 10 wickets, and the first time in KKR’s history.
For the fifth consecutive year since 2013, Kolkata have won their opening match in the IPL. Let’s look at the performances of the players from both the teams.
Kolkata Knight Riders:
Gautam Gambhir – 10/10
In the previous game it was Steven Smith for Rising Pune Supergiants, and on this night it was Gambhir for KKR. Two out of the first three matches of IPL 2017 have witnessed the captains taking their team home successfully.
Gambhir, who had an in-form Lynn on the other end, played his batted with much gusto as he remained unbeaten on 76 off 48 balls. His knock was inclusive of 12 boundaries en route to crossing 3000 runs in the IPL.
Chris Lynn – 10/10
The Australian batsman deserved more than a perfect 10. Although he survived a few times due to sloppy fielding from the Lions, at the end of the match the runs scored are what matters. Lynn smashed 93 runs off just 41 balls with the blitzing knock consisting of six fours and eight sixes.
Robin Uthappa – N/A
Manish Pandey – N/A
Surya Kumar Yadav – N/A
Yusuf Pathan – N/A
Kuldeep Yadav – 5/10
The Chinaman bowler bagged two crucial wickets and finished his four overs with the best economy among his teammates, 6.25. Gujarat’s opener Brendon McCullum, who hit four boundaries and two sixes, looked dangerous once he settled at the crease. Considering what McCullum is capable of doing in the shortest format, Kuldeep’s breakthrough was vital. He then removed former No. 1 T20I batsman, Aaron Finch.
However, his rating took a dip because he dropped Suresh Raina’s catch when the Gujarat skipper was on 12 runs. Raina eventually remained unbeaten on 68 off 51 balls. Had KKR failed to chase down 184, Kuldeep’s dropped catch would have been considered a turning point.
Piyush Chawla – 3/10
Jason Roy is one of the big hitters in the T20 at present. He opened Gujarat’s innings with former New Zealander McCullum and went after the KKR bowlers right from the beginning. Roy scored a quick 14 off 12 before Chawla dismissed him in the fourth over. Other than that, Chawla was also among the expensive bowlers who leaked runs.
Trent Boult – 2/10
Even though the New Zealand fast bowler had a wicket to his name in the match, his breakthrough came in the final over of the innings. By then Gujarat’s wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik had done the damage as he had added 87 runs along with his skipper Raina for the fourth wicket.
Sunil Narine – 2/10
The West Indian spinner has been KKR’s one of the most significant players ever since he was roped in by the franchise in 2012. He not only went wicket-less, he was also expensive by giving away 33 runs in four overs.
Chris Woakes – 1/10
The English pacer, who proved to be expensive after his three overs, was not recalled to bowl his final over in the match. He gave away 35 runs and failed to make a breakthrough.
The captain helped Gujarat recover following an early dismissal of their opening batsman, Roy. He first shared a 50-run stand with McCullum before adding 87 runs with Karthik for the fourth wicket. That stand helped Gujarat post a total of 183 runs.
Karthik stepped up just when Raina wanted support from the other end. After McCullum’s dismissal, Karthik joined hands with Raina and took Gujarat past 180. He was dismissed on the fifth ball of the final over of Gujarat’s innings.
The former Blackcaps captain failed to convert his start into a big knock. He scored 35 off 24 balls before being trapped leg before wicket by Kuldeep Yadav. He was among the fielders who dropped Chris Lynn, a mistake that proved fatal.
The former Australian T20I skipper threw away his wicket when Gujarat wanted him to stick around. He smashed two maximums before giving a catch to Surya Kumar Yadav off Kuldeep’s bowling.
Dwayne Smith — 0.4/10
The poor rating is because the West Indian did not face a single delivery. Moreover, he was given an over to bowl where he was smashed for three sixes and a four.
Praveen Kumar — 1/10
Barring Kumar, all other bowlers had a 10+ economy at the end of the match. Raina used a total of six bowlers and all of them failed to make a breakthrough. The duo of Gambhir and Lynn humiliated Gujarat at their backyard, courtesy of some terrible bowling performances from the hosts.
Shadab Jakati — 0.2/10
He was the only second bowler after Praveen Kumar who was not hit for a six. In the three overs he had bowled, he leaked 30 runs. Gambhir and Lynn could not hit the left arm spinner for the big shots, but they managed to take several singles and doubles.
Shivil Kaushik— 0/10
The chinaman bowler was the only Gujarat bowler who bowled all four overs. He was smashed for seven boundaries and a six and eventually he finished with figures of 40 for 0 in 4 overs.
Dhawal Kulkarni — 0/10
Kulkarni, who was among the senior bowlers in the team, miserably failed to create any impact. In the 2.5 overs he had bowled, he was hit for three sixes and fours apiece.
Manpreet Singh Gony — 0
In the first over he bowled, he was welcomed with a boundary by KKR's captain, Gambhir. That was followed by Lynn smashing him for another four and a six. In his second over, he was again hit for a few boundaries and then was never given the ball in the match.