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IPL 9, Match 51: GL v KKR – 5 Talking Points

Dwayne Smith Gujarat Lions
Dwayne Smith was the pick of the bowlers for the Gujarat Lions with his 4-wicket haul. (Photo Source: BCCI)

The Kolkata Knight Riders clashed with the Gujarat Lions at Kanpur, a match that was a must win game for both the sides. The venue was hosting its first ever T20 and its first ever match day-night game under lights. The conditions were alien to both the sides but the pressure to come on top was equal.

The Kolkata Knight Riders asked to bat by the Gujarat Lions skipper Suresh Raina, who made a comeback in this match. The Knight Riders had a horrid start which saw half of their side back in the pavilion inside 12 overs with just 61 runs on the board. Some resistance from the lower middle order saw them post a reasonably respectable total of 124/8 in their 20 overs.

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The Lions lost their two main batsmen, their openers, early but skipper Suresh Raina looked in a different mood and took them through.

1. KKR’s shaky start on the green turf:

The wicket at the Green Park stadium was indeed very green and looked to be a seamer friendly track. The Lions had no hesitation in putting KKR in to bat first. The Knight Riders have banked heavily on their openers in the tournament so far, and same was the case today. However, Gautam Gambhir was involved in a run out which saw him depart soon on just 8. Manish Pandey followed in quick succession. They experimented by promoting Piyush Chawla up the order, but only to see him struggle for 16 balls for his 11 runs. Robin Uthappa’s brief resistance of 19-ball 25 came to an end soon after the powerplay and Shakib Al Hasan’s departure saw Kolkata reeling at 61/5 by the end of 11.3 overs.

2. Dwayne Smith’s spell:

Gujarat Lions’ unlikely hero with the ball turned out to be Dwayne Smith. Smith was brought in as a first change bowler in the 5th over of the innings as Praveen Kumar injured himself while fielding and wasn’t available. Smith managed to take the key wicket of Manish Pandey. He bowled another beauty to get rid of Chawla. Just when one would have thought that DR Smith is having a lucky time, he scalped the priced wicket of Robin Uthappa, when he got an edge of his bat. In his last over, he made quick work of Shakib Al Hasan and dismissed him for just 3. If there was anyone who made use of the seamer friendly green turf at the venue, it had to be this big burly West Indian. He not only picked wickets but also kept things tight. He returned with figures of 4/8 in his 4 overs.

How did Twitter react to the game? – Twitter Reactions: Raina, Smith help Gujarat Lions route KKR

3. Pathan-Yadav steady the ship:

Half the side was back to the hut with only 61 on the board for the 2014 champions. It came down to the experienced campaigner Yusuf Pathan to steady the ship and take KKR to a decent score. Unlike his conventional game, Yusuf played an uncharacteristic knock and mixed caution with aggression. He was ably supported by Suryakumar Yadav. They put on 41 runs for the 6th wicket which saw the innings get some stability. Yusuf continued after the departure of Yadav. It was in the penultimate over when Yusuf Pathan perished in his attempt to accelerate the proceedings. He made a run-a-ball 36 while Yadav scored 17 off 14.

Match report – IPL 9, Match 51 Review: Gujarat Lions overcome misfiring KKR

4. Lions’ openers fail yet again:

The Gujarat Lions had stamped their authority in the tournament running on impressive starts by their openers. However, as the tournament progressed, they seemed to lose their way. Against the Kolkata Knight Riders, the story was no different. Openers Dwayne Smith and Brendon McCullum lost their wickets early in the innings. Dwayne Smith had a memorable day with the ball but an equally forgettable outing with the bat. He was dismissed on the very first delivery of the innings when he inside edged one to the keeper’s gloves off the bowling of AnkitRajpoot. Brendon McCullum announced his arrival at the crease in style and hit the first ball that he faced for a six. But a couple of deliveries later, he was caught lbw off the bowling of Sunil Narine.

5. Suresh Raina plays the captain’s knock:

The Gujarat Lions would be a mighty pleased side with their skipper leading from the front against KKR. Not just did the Lions win the match, they won it handsomely with 39 balls to spare and 6 wickets in hand. Clearly Raina had the net run rate on his mind. Suresh Raina walked into the middle in the very first over after the dismissal of Dwayne Smith. He took very little time to assess his ‘home’ conditions. He started playing his shots with ease and carved boundaries all round the park. His new born daughter certainly brought the lady charm for him and a thus far out of sorts Raina looked to be playing in a different mode. He brought up his half century in 33 balls with 7 fours and a maximum. He remained unbeaten at the crease and hit the winning runs to finish with 53 off 36 balls.

Stats and records – IPL 9, Match 51: GL v KKR– Statistical Highlights

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