Kolkata Knight Riders are one of the most consistent teams in IPL and it is hard for any team to beat them. It gets even harder if the match is played at their fortress, the Eden Gardens. And if the opposition team is coming after losing 3 back to back matches, to lift themselves up is a task in itself. Gujarat Lions today did not care for any of the above today and brought out their A game to beat KKR all ends up.
Gujarat Lions won the toss to put KKR in to bat on a good batting pitch.
The ever so consistent top order of KKR imploded to some bad shots and some exceptional swing bowling by Gujarat Lions to end the powerplay at a disastrous 28 for 4. Yousuf Pathan and Shakib Al Hasan had their task cut out. They needed to bat out the overs and also pick the run rate up without giving away any more wickets. It was a very difficult ask and they came out trumps. They gave KKR the best ever partnership for the team in all of IPL. Shakib played cautiously at the beginning while Yousuf attacked the spinners from the word go. Once set, Shakib also tore in the Lions bowling in the end overs to propel KKR to a fighting 158 for 4.
Yousuf was unbeaten on 63 off 41 balls and Shakib scored 66 not out off 49 balls. Their partnership was worth a mammoth 134 runs and gave their bowlers something to bowl at.
A target of 159 was not a winning score by any margin on this ground. Only chance the KKR had was to get early wickets and the Lions opening pair of Dwayne Smith and Brendon McCullum denied them that chance. They scored at a brisk pace to add 42 for the 1st wicket in just over 5 overs. Lions kept scoring at a good pace to keep KKR out of the game and the wicket of McCullum in the 8th over also could not help KKR much. New man Dinesh Karthik blazed away from the first ball and eventually scored a match winning 51 off just 29 balls to deny KKR any advantage. Raina struggled to score but kept his end intact not giving away his wicket.Raina and Karthik both fell in the closing hours of the match with the result almost in their favor. And if KKR had any doubts, the new man Aaron Finch, shoo them down in style. He was run out when the scores were level in the 18th over but before being dismissed he had already smashed 29 runs from just 10 balls.
Ravindra Jadeja finished off the match with a six over mid wicket off the last ball of the 18th over.
Gujarat Lions bounced back in style and played just like they were playing before the 3 match eclipse. With this win they clawed back their top rank from Sunrisers Hyderabad who had just got to the position a couple of hours ago. KKR are on the 3rd spot and should be able to bounce back with the team they have.