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Match Report: M23 - KKR vs GL

Captain Raina powers GL to convincing over KKR

Match Report KKR vs GL.jpg

Suresh Raina played a captain’s knock to lead the Gujarat Lions to their second win of VIVO IPL 2017. After the Kolkata Knight Riders had set them a target of 188, the Lions captain scored 84 from 46 balls and powered his team to a 4-wicket victory.

The Lions captain came in to bat after the opening pair of Aaron Finch and Brendon McCullum had flayed the KKR bowlers at the start of the chase. Finch (31 from 15 balls, 4 fours, 2 sixes) and McCullum collected six boundaries and two sixes and added 42 before Nathan Coulter-Nile separated them in the fourth over.

After Finch was dismissed, McCullum ensured there would be no drop in intensity as he launched into the Australian pacer immediately.The very first delivery after the wicket was cut away to the point boundary. The next ball was pulled into the stands at square-leg, while the third delivery after the wicket was edged to the thirdmanfence. The players left the field for a brief period then – with the score reading 62 for 1 after five overs – when the skies opened up.

McCullum (33 from 17 balls, 5 fours, 1 six) was dismissed in the second over after play resumed. Having seen the back of the two dangerous openers, KKR utilized the opportunity to build some pressure; they slipped in a couple of quiet overs apart from picking up three wickets.

But come the business end, Raina took control and turned on the heat. The Lions captain batted beautifully and struck some wonderful blows – proper cricket strokes; he completed his half-century at the end of the fourteenth over, at which stage his team still needed 55 from six overs. In the fifteenth, the left-hander hit Umesh Yadav for a six and a four, and then collected two more fours and a six in the seventeenth bowled by Coulter-Nile. In the eighteenth, Raina deposited the chinaman bowler into the stands at midwicket, before he drove into the hands of the fielder at cover.Ravindra Jadeja (19* from 13 balls) and Faulkner completed the formalities and took their team across the line with ten balls to spare.

Kuldeep Yadav and Coulter-Nilepicked up two wickets each for the hosts, while Chris Woakes and Yadav chipped in with a wicket each.

Earlier in the evening, put in to bat, KKR themselves got off to a frenzied start with Sunil Narine throwing his willow at anything that came his way. The Trinidadian, sent to open the batting, raced to a career-best 42 off 17 balls; he hit Praveen Kumar for three boundaries in the opening over, and collected four boundaries in the second over bowled by James Faulkner. Narine dominated the partnership with his skipper Gautam Gambhir before he fell victim to Suresh Raina in the fourth over.

Sanity returned to proceedings when Gambhir was joined by Robin Uthappa. One got to see a good mix of caution and aggression while the second wicket pair was at the crease; both batsmen were on the lookout for runs on every single occasion. They kept the scoreboard ticking all the time, while also collecting boundaries through proper cricket strokes. The pair extended their partnership to 69 runs before Gambhir (33 from 28 balls) miscued Faulkner and was caught at midwicket.

Uthappa was then joined by Manish Pandey and the Karnataka pair added 55 in 6.5 overs. Uthappa- 37 from 24 balls when Gambhirwas dismissed -faced a further 24 deliveries, during which period he added 35 runs. In all, before his dismissal at the start of the 19th over, he struck eight fours and two sixes in his 48-ball 72.

The loss of a well-set Uthappa perhaps deprived KKR momentum at the business end.Manish Pandey made 24 from 21 balls before his dismissal in the final over. There was a stage in the innings – with the score reading 141-2 after 15 overs – when KKR looked good to post a total of 200.The hosts could eventually only get to 187-5.

For the visitors, the bowlers had a forgettable day in the office – especially in the first-half of the innings; Praveen Kumar, Faulkner (playing his first match of the season), Basil Thampi (who bowled a fine last over) and Raina picked up a wicket each.

Brief Scores

Kolkata Knight Riders: 187-5 (Robin Uthappa 72, Sunil Narine 42, Gautam Gambhir 33) lost to Gujarat Lions: 188-6 in 18.2 overs (Suresh Raina 84, Brendon McCullum 33, Aaron Finch 31, Kuldeep Yadav 2-33, Nathan Coulter-Nile 2-41)

Man of the Match: Suresh Raina