Kolkata Knight Riders v Gujarat Lions, IPL 2017, Kolkata April 21, 2017

Raina assault too hot for Knight Riders

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Gujarat Lions 188 for 6 (Raina 84, McCullum 33, Kuldeep 2-33) beat Kolkata Knight Riders 187 for 5 (Uthappa 72, Narine 42) by four wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

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Agarkar: Knight Riders didn't get enough runs

Suresh Raina displayed all the elements that have made him a T20 stalwart - strong bottom hand, powerful wrists, tactful strike-rotation, fierce ball-striking and handy offspin - to eke out a four-wicket win that breathed life into Gujarat Lions' campaign. Their second win in six games temporarily lifted them off the bottom of the table. But this was no walk in the park as the scorecard suggests.

Walking in at No. 3, he watched Brendon McCullum, Dinesh Karthik, Dwayne Smith and Ishan Kishan fall. The Yadavs - Kuldeep and Umesh - had the batsmen tied in knots with flight and reverse swing respectively. At 115 for 5, Lions were far from ahead in a chase of 188. But Raina, reprieved on 1 by Robin Uthappa off Sunil Narine, held his shape, backed himself to bring out the big hits on demand and single-handedly razed down the target. He fell with Lions needing eight, and Ravindra Jadeja and James Faulkner did the rest with 10 balls to spare.

Narine gamble pays off

Narine proved his promotion up the order was a calculated gamble that paid off. Swinging through the line to length deliveries from Praveen Kumar and Faulkner, he smashed seven boundaries in 12 deliveries. Then in the third over, Basil Thampi came in for similar treatment off length deliveries as Kolkata Knight Riders raced to 44 without loss in three overs. It needed Raina's introduction that took the pace off to break the stand as Narine toe-ended a slog to wide mid-on. By making 42 off 17 deliveries - his highest T20 score and most runs made by a batsman with boundaries in percentage terms at the IPL - he had left a platform for the in-form Uthappa and Manish Pandey to build on.

Uthappa-Gambhir consolidate

Mixing brute force - particularly on the pull - and fineness to ride the bounce and bring his deft touches to the fore against spin, Uthappa ensured the momentum given by Narine was sustained beyond the halfway mark. He was ably assisted by Gautam Gambhir as the pair turned focus on strike rotation.

Their game awareness against the slower bowlers - their 11 singles in 12 deliveries off Jadeja and Dwayne Smith - stood out. But the moment Jadeja erred by bowling flat, Gambhir swung through to hit his first six this season. It was the lack of pace that eventually got Gambhir, who top-edged a pull to Raina at midwicket. At 114 for 2 in the 12th over, Lions were staring at 200 plus. Uthappa's half-century made it tougher for Lions, but they found a way through.

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Thampi's toe-crushers

Against Uthappa and a batsman in top form, the kind Pandey has been in, and striking at close to 150, Lions needed a mighty effort to restrict Knight Riders to under 200. By conceding just four boundaries in five overs after Gambhir's dismissal, Lions had done well to pull things back. Knight Riders were still handily placed at 154 for 2 after 17 overs. Faulkner had bowled out, and it was more than likely one of Praveen or Thampi had to complete their quota. Raina went with the bowler who has pace.

The first two deliveries were smashed for 10, but Thampi held his own and speared in a yorker from wide of the crease. He nailed Uthappa in front of middle, but wasn't given by umpire Nitin Menon. He came back in to bowl three more yorkers, the last one angling into Pandey's toes as he backed away to swing. It shaved past leg stump. Having been unlucky in three tries, he finally had luck smiling on him as he rattled all three stumps against Pandey in his next over with an inswinging yorker. He finished with 4-0-44-1, but his ability to bowl yorkers almost at will stood out.

Finch-McCullum charge puts Lions ahead

McCullum had been dismissed 20 times by left-arm spinners, the most for an IPL batsman. Knight Riders perhaps picked Shakib Al Hasan precisely for this and opened with him. But McCullum turbocharged to a 17-ball 33, while Finch swung his way to 31 as Lions raced to 62 for 1, ahead by 21 ahead on the Duckworth-Lewis method when a steady downpour halted play. When the match resumed, Knight Riders didn't just have to contend with the in-form McCullum but also a greasy outfield, and had two big strikes in successive overs. McCullum flayed a length ball to deep cover in the sixth over, while Dinesh Karthik was deceived by a Chris Woakes delivery that gripped to take the leading edge to Gambhir at cover.

Yadavs pull things back

Kuldeep is a brave spinner. Not even the threat of two muscular batsmen looking to give him the charge deters him from tossing up the ball. He relies on dip and revs on the ball, and strangled Ishan Kishan with a string of dot balls. Ten deliveries had fetched four. Raina was fluent, but by blocking one end and escalating the asking rate, the onus was on Kishan to see it through. Instead, he tried a slog sweep and holed out to deep square leg . Then off the next, Umesh Yadav, held back until the 13th over, got a full delivery to tail back and sneak through Dwayne Smith's defense. At 122 for 5, Lions needed a lower-order coup.

Raina in top gear

Raina has captained Kuldeep at Uttar Pradesh. But that the 22-year old found a way to nearly fox his captain was noteworthy. Luck was on Raina's side as he played for the turn to a delivery that skidded back in to get a thick inside edge that shaved past leg stump. Up on 45 then, he went on to add 39 more to effectively close out the chase.

Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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  • Damu13579 on April 23, 2017, 8:41 GMT

    cricfan31017182 on April 22, 2017, 11:03 GMT: Looking at your comment" Manish Pandey's batting has ALWAYS been brainless, I was wondering who exactly is being brainlesss.

  • cricfan31017182 on April 22, 2017, 11:03 GMT

    Manish Pandey lost the match for KKR. He has suited only for middle overs for his batting has always been brainless. He kept on getting outside leg and bowlers kept on doing so and he kept on struggling. Even when Uthappa on the other hand was moving in different directions to foll the bowlers. Last match too, its was more of Mishra's fault that MPs credit to win tha match for KKR.

  • paramnp9 on April 22, 2017, 9:27 GMT

    Jose..P: I agree with you. Score board does not convey the correct picture. Thampi bowled aggressively and bowls yorkers at will. He is still raw, but the potential is very much there. I hope he will be considered ahead of bowlers like Kulkarni, Ishant and Aaron, in limited overs matches. He needs another two domestic seasons, but seems ready made for limited over matches. He, along with Shardul Thakur, have been the moat impressive of young Indian pacers in this IPL. Siraj looks raw, Nathu is not being picked in the eleven. Sandeep's bowling in the death has been below par. And yes, am happy your state team won yesterday!

  • ziaul8404 on April 22, 2017, 8:34 GMT

    I would like to draw the attention of all BD haters, pls see that Shakib' s economy is the same as other bowlers of KKR, so dont blame Shakib only.Rather KKR is 30 run short, Manish, GG batted too slow.

  • dmqi on April 22, 2017, 8:32 GMT

    After the match is over we can make all comments with ifs and buts, The bottom line is this. All strong team will loose few matches and few teams from defeat position will win with the help of an outstanding batting or bowling performance. This match was owned by Raina because he took risky shots and it worked. Gamvir and Manish did not want to take much risk, were happy with below 100 strike rates. Only few shots with boundary or over boundary would push the score over 200. Then opening with spin was not a good decisions either. Pathan's firepower was not used too. So many things can be said after the match, but no one knew 170 would not be defendable. In the previous match 161 was good enough for KKR.

  • forExcelienceInCricket on April 22, 2017, 8:19 GMT

    GL have shown great resilience by securing a good win over KKR. KKR after a bright start while batting finished about 20-30 runs short. In earlier matches GL had missed opportunities of wins over MI & RCB due to fielding, batting errors.

    It has almost become a practice to conclude that captaincy is great if a team wins or captaincy is poor if a team loses. There is also the fallacy that if a team has huge talent it implies a great captain or if a team has talent gaps implies a poor captain.

    Cricket is a sport in which victories are secured by a team with a superior collective batting/ bowling / fielding / physical fitness/ mental toughness performance with minimal errors over the opponents. Captains can marginally optimise team results

    In IPL10 performance of 3 teams RCB, GL & DD has got affected due to injury to key players. GL have shown improvement in bowling depth in IPL9. If GL play to potential in remaining matches it won't be a surprise to seen them qualify for playoffs

  • Assertive-Indian on April 22, 2017, 7:55 GMT

    @Rajeev1702: Same logic applies to rohit sharma also. Select him only if he delivers consistent performance, not on the basis of one or two knocks.

  • Azizul84 on April 22, 2017, 7:50 GMT

    Surya Kumar Yadab is a mere wastage in KKR line up. KKR should have played a proper wicket keeper in place of him. Robbie missed vital catch yesterday and kkr lost because of that.

  • ALLROUNDCRICKET on April 22, 2017, 7:49 GMT

    Soumya Roy of Bangladesh is a fine batsman. Technically sound and hits a rasping cover drive and straight drive. All IPL Teams should be on the look out

  •   Rajeev1702 on April 22, 2017, 6:53 GMT

    Assertive Indian.....You mean like Rohit Sharma is playing in this IPL...He should be selected and not Raina

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