When the 17th over of Gujarat Lions’ chase began, they needed 33 runs from 24 deliveries. With a fervent Eden Gardens crowd behind them, Kolkata Knight Riders smelled a comeback in their defense of the fighting total of 187. But visiting skipper Suresh Raina poured cold water over their already slim hopes by taking apart seamer Nathan Coulter-Nile.
The left-hander smashed two sparkling fours and a towering six to reduce the required run-rate from more than eight to below six runs per over. In the company of all rounder Ravindra Jadeja, he pocketed as many as 16 runs off Coulter-Nile’s third over to put his team on top.
When Kuldeep Yadav bowled the next over, Raina continued his exhibition of shot-making. In the fourth delivery, he unfurled a slog sweep against the turn to comfortably clear the deep mid-wicket fence.
However, the 30-year old had to depart in the very next delivery as the chinaman exponent managed to extract extra bounce to induce a mistimed chip that fell into the hands of Manish Pandey.
But Raina’s calculated assault against Coulter-Nile had all but sealed the game for the Lions. Jadeja completed the formality in the penultimate over with a boundary through the point region. By virtue of their four-wicket victory, Gujarat leapt ahead of Rising Pune Supergiant on net run-rate and removed themselves from the ignominious last place.
Raina was named Player of the Match for his stunning 46-ball 84. At the post-match presentation ceremony, he shared an insight into his batting strategy. The southpaw said, “It was important to play proper cricketing shots, there was no need to play cross-batted shots.”
Here’s how the events unfolded in the 17th over of Gujarat’s chase:
16.1 – Coulter-Nile to Raina, FOUR! Back of a length ball from the Australian pacer but Raina is in a good position to smack it past the bowler. The timing’s enough to carry the ball to the short straight boundary.
16.2 – Coulter-Nile to Raina, no run. KKR will take every dot ball they can at this stage of the match. Slightly fuller when compared to the previous one and Raina makes room to have a go at it. But he gets beaten in length.
16.3 – Coulter-Nile to Raina, FOUR! Extraordinary shot from the left-hander. Even as the bowler looks to fire in a wide yorker, he backs away and cleverly opens the face of the bat to pierce the gap between backward point and third-man.
16.4 – Coulter-Nile to Raina, SIX! Gujarat’s skipper is dealing in boundaries here. A delivery that is right in the slot for him and the southpaw shuffles across before nonchalantly picking it up off his pads. The ball is sent flying past the deep square leg boundary.
16.5 – Coulter-Nile to Raina, one run. Almost a repeat of the third delivery. To a fuller one, Raina looks to open the face of the ball once again but this time around he has to settle for the single as the ball races to the third man fielder.
16.6 – Coulter-Nile to Jadeja, one run. The fast bowler tries to fire it in the block hole but can only manage to send down a full toss. However, Jadeja is not able to capitalise and pushes it to the mid-off fielder for just a single. 16 runs off the over and Gujarat have the game firmly entrenched in their hands.