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

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

Gujarat Lions
Gujarat Lions. (Photo Source: BCCI)

Considering the amount extremely green top which was bestowed upon Gujarat Lions skipper Suresh Raina won the toss and immediately chose to bowl first. However, the pitch did not behave as devilish as it seemed. Praveen Kumar did extract some movement off the pitch, however, KKR openers Gautham Gambhir and Robin Uthappa looked well set to negotiate off the threat. Uthappa looked in extremely good touch, who used the pace of the ball and lightning quick outfield to pick up some well-executed boundaries.

Gambhir, however, was living on the edge. The player was dropped twice in different instances, and it looked like he was getting set to play a big knock. However, an outstanding piece of fielding from Shadab Jakati ended his stay on the field; extending his dubious record of acquiring the most number of run-outs in this IPL. Praveen Kumar looked uncomfortable during his second over; which looked like a side-strain, and did not bowl thereafter in the match. Praveen had an awkward landing when he misjudged a catch which he eventually dropped, which could have triggered his side strain. This prompted Raina to bring in Dwayne Smith to complete his quota of overs, which proved to be a masterstroke.

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The West Indian part timer is quite handy with the ball, rather known for his slow yorkers. However, Smith crippled the KKR batting with some excellent use of the conditions provided. Manish Pandey fell cheaply after guiding one right to the hands of Raina. This put the breaks on KKR, with Gambhir’s decision to promote Piyush Chawla did not provide the required dividends. The run rate dipped to sub-six RPO, things weren’t getting any better for KKR when they lost the well-set Uthappa.

KKR’s run rate never really picked up, and Dwayne Smith’s excellent spell just got better and better. He picked up the third for the night in his third over, removing Chawla for 11. Yusuf Pathan took up the role of the anchor, trying to stabilize things before going for the big finish. Smith got his 4th of the night with an excellent bouncer, which surprised Shakib, who ended up upper cutting to the third man fielder. Pathan got a stable partner in Suryakumar Yadav, who was more than happy to rotate the strike. Meanwhile, the action shifted to the edge of the boundary line, where Alan Wilkins interviewed the CEO of Apple Inc, Tim Cook.

Pathan set his intentions straight with a 14-run over off Jadeja. However, Yadav went when he swept Jakati, only to find the hands of Dhawan Kulkarni. Pathan continued his efforts to put KKR to a respective score, till he hit a low full toss off Kulkarni to Raina. Holder, who was playing in place of Russell, hit a couple of lusty blows before falling to Bravo in the last over. The KKR innings ended with 124 on board, which was a below par score despite the conditions on offer.

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KKR needed some real quick wickets, and Rajpoot provided one with his very first ball. It was the wicket of Dwayne Smith, who ironically went out for a golden duck after a splendid performance with the ball. Additionally, Gambhir brought in Sunil Narine in the very second over, puzzling many. It nearly seemed like a move which would backfire when he gave away 6 wides when the ball drifted one on the leg side. However, his tactic of bowling slow seamers eventually paid off, as he picked up the wicket of Brendon McCullum the very next ball. Two wickets in two overs and KKR were right back into the match.

However, Suresh Raina looked a different man now. Fresh from becoming a father he took it upon himself to start the counter attack. The Gujarat Lions took up an attacking strategy to overcome the tricky pitch. They adopted the strategy of hitting at least a boundary an over. The eventual dismissal of Dinesh Karthik after starting off well did stir up some concerns for the Lions, as the scorecard now read 39 for the loss of 3 wickets.

Raina continued to attack the opposition, not without giving the required merit to the ball. However, the game-changing overcame in the form of Ankit Rajpoot, who gave away 16 runs in his unfortunate over; which involved 7 wides and a boundary through the slip cordon. With 71 on board off 7 overs, the match was already inside the bag, with the primary concern being the net run rate. Raina’s partner, Finch, played the wait and watch the game, hitting the bad balls off the park. The skipper himself was circulating the strike very well.

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

The match eventually became a matter of when rather than whether for the Lions, but not before receiving a slight tremor. In a horrendous incident, Raina and Finch ran into each other while running for a third, eventually running out the latter. However with just 28 runs to get, KKR had too little to defend. Raina upped his ante against Jason Holder during the 11th over, correctly anticipating the short balls and dealt it with disdain.

He got his half century soon, with his classic inside-out shot off Pathan. This signaled the fag end of the chase, as Ravindra Jadeja and Raina finished it off in the 14th over itself. This boosted the severely dented Net Run Rate of GL and denting KKR’s chances of making it to the playoffs.

Brief Scores:

Kolkata Knight Riders: 124/8 in 20 overs ( Pathan 36, Uthappa 25; Smith 4/8)
Gujarat Lions: 125/4 in 13.3 overs ( Raina 53*, Finch 26; Narine 1/30)
Man of the match: Dwayne Smith