Kolkata: Gujarat Lions recorded their second win of this tournament after they outplayed a strong Kolkata Knight Riders side by four wickets at the iconic Eden Gardens on Friday.
Sunil Narine(42), who opened the batting along with skipper Gautam Gambhir tore apart the Gujarat bowling in the early stages of the match and got the Kolkata side off to a flying start, before Robin Uthappa (72) and co helped them put up 187 runs on the board.
But the Gujarat openers eased all the pressure of the asking rate, as they took the attack to the KKR spinners, scoring freely and Suresh Raina’s beautiful 84 proved to be just the push that Gujarat required to win the match and solidify their chances of making a comeback in the competition.
Winning the toss, Raina put KKR to bat as the home team led by Narine’s onslaught scored freely in the initial overs. The West Indian hit boundaries at will as all his 42 runs, which came of just 17 balls came of fours and sixes. Gambhir(33) and Manish Pandey (21) chipped in with useful contributions.
Robin Uthappa scored a good solid 72 as KKR looked to easily cross the 200 run mark. But some inspired bowling performances by Gujarat in the last few overs restricted the Knight Riders to just 187 runs.
Aaron Finch and Brendon McCullum however came hard at the KKR bowlers from the beginning as Gujarat cruised to 42 runs in just 3.3 overs. Gambhir’s ploy of opening the attack with spinners didn’t yield positive results.
There was a stoppage of play for some time due to rain and as soon as play resumed after the downpour, Kolkata looked to attack and they did too, when they got some quick wickets in a short span of time. But Raina played a captain’s knock and guided his team to a four wicket win. Kuldeep Yadav was the best bowler for the Kolkata side as he scalped two wickets giving away 33 runs in his four overs.
With this win, Gujarat Lions rise up to the seventh position in the league table as KKR continued their stay at the second spot.
Kolkata Knight Riders 187/5 (Robin Uthappa 72, Sunil Narine 42; Suresh Raina 1/11) lost to Gujarat Lions 188/6 in 18.2 overs (Suresh Raina 84, Brendon McCullum 33; Kuldeep Yadav 2/33) by four wickets.