Who won it for Gujarat Lions? Their skipper, Suresh Raina, played a huge role in chasing down 187. His 84 was the knock around which the chase hinged. Raina, not only saw through a tricky period where Gujarat lost two wickets in the space of six balls but ensured that the momentum was never lost. The cuts, dabs and the one-kneed sixes were all in display as Raina batted almost right through to give Gujarat only their second win this season.
Where did KKR go wrong? Although Raina did a very important job for his team, the early impact for Gujarat was created in the powerplay overs. Aaron Finch (31 off 15) and Brendon McCullum (33 off 17) helped Gujarat go at over 12 an over in the first five overs. That early start allowed the required run-rate to drop down considerably and eased some pressure off Raina when he came in, despite a slight stutter. KKR went in with a spin-heavy combination in the powerplay overs with Sunil Narine and Shakib Al Hasan. Both though were carted around by the openers and allowed Gujarat to gain an early upper hand. Maybe just an over each for the spinners then rather than two each, could have allowed KKR some more breathing space. They got their first wicket, and then two more, through pace when Coulter-Nile came in.
Could KKR have done better with the bat?Perhaps a little better. But 187 was a very good score. They got there through some clinical batting. After a blazing start in the powerplay overs, Robin Uthappa played a hand similar to what Raina did for Gujarat. He made 72 off 48, coming in at No. 3, and at one stage, KKR were threatening to post a total over 200. At the end of 15 overs, they had eight wickets in the bank with 141 already on the board. Given that, the finish was not quite the surge that they would have hoped for. Manish Pandey (24 off 20) was crippled by some good yorkers and Gujarat did well to pull things back.
Gayle? Warner? No, it’s NarineKKR have shown a penchant for experimenting with their opening slot since the injury to Chris Lynn. Narine was brought back into that position today, and the left-hander’s slogs proved to be a big hit. He smacked 42, all in boundaries, and made sure that the powerplay overs counted for KKR. Too bad that he would go on to concede quite a few with the ball, but for now KKR will be more than happy with his efforts with the bat.
Where they stand and where they go?KKR are placed second in the points table with four wins in six games. In a day’s time, on Sunday, Royal Challengers Bangalore will come visiting.
Gujarat will have some hope of getting their season back on track after this win. They are still placed seventh in the points table. Gujarat will go back home to face Glenn Maxwell’s KXIP.
Brief Scores: Kolkata Knight Riders 187/5 in 20 ov (Robin Uthappa 72, Sunil Narine 42) lost to Gujarat Lions 188/6 in 18.2 ov (Suresh Raina 84, Brendon McCullum 33)