Match Report: M51- GL vs KKR

Dwayne Smith, Raina star in Lions win over KKR

Mumbai 19 May 2016
The Gujarat Lions began their Kanpur-leg of VIVO IPL 2016 with a commanding victory over Kolkata Knight Riders on Thursday. After inserting the visitors in on a green-looking pitch, the Gujarat Lions restricted KKR to 124-8 and then chased down the runs in the 14th over, with captain Suresh Raina leading from the front with a stroke-filled half-century.

KKR were steady at the start, with Robin Uthappa and Gautam Gambhir adding 23 runs in the first three overs. But after Shadab Jakati’s brilliance on the field – he scored a direct hit at the striker’s end to catch Gambhir short of his ground - provided the Lions with their first breakthrough, it was all downhill. And the bulk of the damage was caused by Dwayne Smith, who returned with career-best bowling figures; the player from the Caribbean broke the backbone of KKR to finish with stunning figures of 4-0-8-4, which included a startling 18 dot balls. He did the basics right, landing the ball in the areas that mattered, let the pitch do its bit and reaped the rewards. He had Manish Pandey and Robin Uthappa fishing outside off, castled pinch-hitter Piyush Chawla and then had Shakib-al-Hasan uppercut a short delivery to deep thirdman. The visitors were reduced to 61 for 5 in 12 overs.

KKR needed a responsible innings from Yusuf Pathan, and contributions from Suryakumar Yadav (17) and Jason Holder (13) to take them to the three-figure mark. Yusuf was dismissed in the 18th over when he drove a low full toss from Dhawal Kulkarni straight to the Lions skipper at extra cover; he made a run-a-ball 36 and hit three boundaries and a six while at the crease.

KKR finished their 20 overs at 124-8; they scored 44-2, 39-3 and 41-3 in the three phases of the innings. The 41-run partnership between Pathan and Yadav for the 6th wicket was the highest of the innings. Smith was the wrecker-in-chief for the Lions, while Kulkarni, Dwayne Bravo and Shadab Jakati picked up a wicket each.

The Gujarat Lions’ chase was rocked right at the start when Smith under-edged Ankit Rajpoot’s first delivery to the wicketkeeper. Brendon McCullum perished in the second over when he was trapped lbw by Sunil Narine, and Dinesh Karthik was cleaned up by a Morne Morkel inswinger in the fourth over. But a stroke-filled fluent innings from skipper Suresh Raina, and his 59-run stand with Aaron Finch put the run-chase back on track.

Though Finch was run out for 26 after a mid-pitch collision with his captain in the tenth over, Raina ensured there were no further hiccups in the innings and drove the team past the finish line. The Gujarat Lions skipper, playing his first match since becoming a father, drove fluently through the off-side and executed the pull shots well whenever the ball was pitched short. He brought up his half-century of 33 balls and two balls later hit the winning runs. Raina remained unbeaten on 53, and hit seven boundaries and a six during his 36-ball stay at the crease. After his match-winning knock – his 27th half-century in the IPL – Raina was back at the perch of the list of highest run-getters in the IPL.
For the visitors, who were without the services of their highest wicket-taker Andre Russell for the match, Rajpoot, Narine and Morkel shared the spoils picking up a wicket each.

Brief Score

Kolkata Knight Riders 124-8 in 20.0 Overs (Yusuf Pathan 36, Robin Uthappa 25, Dwayne Smith 4-8) lost to Gujarat Lions 125-4 in 13.3 Overs (Suresh Raina 53*, Aaron Finch 26) by 6 wickets.

Man of the Match: Dwayne Smith, for his back-breaking spell of 4-0-8-4.
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