When ‘Lynnsanity’ struck Rajkot
Willow wielder Chris Lynn’s appearances in IPL have been so sporadic that before Friday, he was best remembered for his breathtaking catch at the boundary to dismiss AB de Villiers in 2015. If the ball had traveled a few more inches, RCB would have won the game, but that effort handed KKR a win. It took the Australian some time to make an addition to the list of magical moments but the wait ended in a trademark fashion. ‘Lynnsanity’ struck Rajkot in the opening match at the venue of the 10th edition of the IPL and it blew away the home team. The Gujarat Lions faced the heat as Kolkata Knight Riders’ new opening pair comprising captain Gautam Gambhir and Lynn came out chasing 184 and returned to the dugout only after the job was done.
On a pitch where bowlers had no help, KKR’s left-right pair registered IPL’s highest opening partnershipand the highest T20 total successfully chased with all 10 wickets intact. Lynn was opening the batting in T20s for just the third time, but he proved he was well prepared. It took him just 19 balls to race to his half-century and ended up with a massive unbeaten 93 off 41 with six boundaries and eight sixes. While the bowling was anyway under tremendous pressure, Dwayne Smith left the field with most bruises having conceded 23 off six balls. Gambhir hit 12 boundaries, but such was Lynn’s impact that even Gambhir’s knock with a strike rate of 158 was overshadowed.
In a chat with iplt20.com, the attacking batsman said having started off in the top gear is a positive sign, but it will now mean that his batting will be closely analyzed and dissected by other franchises, making it tougher for him.
It was an outstanding chase. You couldn’t have planned it any better.
We knew we had to get off to a good start to put Gujarat Lions under pressure and we did that. I am keeping my fingers crossed that I can pick that momentum and ride the wave throughout the tournament. Teams are going to watch the footage and work out a plan. I will have to throw a punch back and go one better.It is a part of the game, but it is great fun doing it.
Your batting styles remains the same be it in Australia, Caribbean or India. How easy or difficult is it for you to go out there and play an attacking game?
I try and keep things very simple. It is see ball, hit ball. If they bowl a good ball, you got to take a single and get at the other end, but if it's a bad ball, you got to put it away. If I am not having fun, I’m not going to do well.
Your opening partner Gautam Gambhir is also the team’s captain. The partnership was a visual treat.
I am really happy the way we gel. We did it so quickly. We’re very comfortable. We run well between the wickets and that is the best sign coming out of it. It was good fun and to chase down such a big target without losing a wicket is special.
When you open the batting in India, what are the changes you make?
It is about the bounce. While batting in India, you have to put your stance a little bit lower. As an opener, the change is minimal but a lot in the middle order as you start against spin. But opening the batting, you have a hard kookaburra, so there is not much change. I had a bit of luck tonight, but you make your own luck.So that’s a positive thing.
When you got to the 50 in just 19 balls, did the thought of getting a century cross your mind?
They say one ball at a time. I was actually happy to get off the mark first and then to get to a half-century. The way Gauti(Gambhir)was batting he was never going to give me a chance to get to a hundred. I am happy to have got 93 not out over hundred; as they say, the team comes first.