Gujarat Lions (GL) finally roared in the 10th edition of Indian Premier League (IPL), when they beat the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) at their fortress Eden Gardens by 4 wickets on Friday in Match No. 23. Batting first, KKR posted 187 for 5, a total good enough to challenge any opposition. In reply, the batting-heavy GL side finally lived up to its reputation to register a rare win in the competition. Though they continue to languish at the bottom after this win, with an improvement of just one place to get at No. 7, this win will do their confidence a world of good. In the highlights package, we bring to you some key moments from the game. Check them out here: FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: KKR vs GL – Match 23
Narine, Narine! When Gujarat and Kolkata met at Rajkot in Match 3 of IPL 10 a fortnight back, it was Chris Lynn’s pyrotechnics at the top that knocked GL out. Lynn hammered unbeaten 93 off just 41 balls to help KKR gun down GL’s 184 easily. Lynn was not around this time due to an injury but did KKR mind his absence? No Lynn, no problem. They had Sunil Narine, who has turned out to be a revelation in the opener’s role.
The West Indian did not show any discrimination while dealing with the Gujarat bowlers, hitting Praveen Kumar for 3 fours, Faulkner for 4 boundaries and Basil Thampi for 2 fours and a six en route his knock of 42 off 17 balls. He scored all his runs in boundaries (9 x 4s, 1 x 6). This was also the highest score in IPL with all scoring shots in boundaries.
Raina goof-up, masterstroke & classy knock: Few days back during a game, Suresh Raina had said at the toss that ‘DK misses out from the XI today’. In no time, this statement created an outrage, with fans wondering how could he drop Dinesh Karthik (known popularly as DK), who has been in a prolific form? However, as it turned out, Dhawal Kulkarni had been dropped. On Friday, Raina made a similar goof-up. He said at the toss that AJ was not playing. Andrew Tye is known as AJ in the team. However, there was also a certain Aaron James Finch in the side. Once again fans went berserk, wondering if the in-form Tye had been dropped. To their dismay, this time though, he meant the real AJ (Tye) was dropped.
Later in the game, Raina got everything right though. He bowled a solitary over, but got rid of the dangerous Narine on his first ball. When he came out to bat, he played a match-winning knock of 46-ball 84, which was laden with 9 fours and 4 sixes. He was also adjudged as the Man of the Match.
Robin Uthappa’s near-perfect fifty: Robin Uthappa played a near-perfect fifty on Friday night, which deserved to end on the winning side. He added crucial runs with skipper Gautam Gambhir and held the innings together till the end, falling for 72 in the penultimate over. Interestingly, Uthappa also invented a RobScoop during his innings, much like the DilScoop.
Aaron Finch – Brendon McCullum stand: Though Raina’s knock won Gujarat the game, it was the platform set by the GL openers that proved decisive in the end. Finch (15-ball 31) and McCullum’s (17-ball 33) kept them ahead by 21 runs according to D/L method at the rain break. KKR could not recover from their onslaught and eventually succumbed to a loss. McCullum also became the Orange Cap holder during the course of his knock.
Jadeja the finisher: He is important for he bowls, bats and fields. This is what GL coach Brad Hodge had said of Ravindra Jadeja when he was out of the team with an injury. On Friday, he was the bowler with best economy rate for GL (amongst those who completed full quota of four overs), fielded well as usual and finished the game with an unbeaten 19 off 13 balls. His knock may look ordinary going by the number of runs he scored. However, Jadeja added crucial 58 runs for the sixth wicket with Raina at a time when three batsmen preceding him had gone back for single-digit scores.