A look at the key passages of play from Match 38 of the Indian Premier League season nine, in which Gujarat Lions beat Kolkata Knight Riders by five wickets at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Sunday. After the seventh victory in 11 games, Gujarat jumped to the top of the standings, while Kolkata have dropped to third after their fourth defeat in ten games.
Gujarat pacers, led by Praveen Kumar who finished with 2/19 in four overs, proved skipper Suresh Raina’s decision to bowl first correct by reducing KKR to 24/4 in 5.5 overs. Praveen was the one who opened the floodgates when he clean bowled Gautam Gambhir in the third over. Two balls later, he dismissed Manish Pandey to leave KKR tottering at 15/2. Dhawal Kulkarni joined the party in the next over and scalped Robin Uthappa for 14. The misery didn’t end there for the hosts. Two overs later, Raina took a blinder at the first slip to dismiss Suryakumar Yadav off Dwayne Smith.
Yusuf Pathan and Shakib Al Hasan took their time to steady the innings. Yusuf targeted the spinners to provide momentum as he smacked a six and a four in successive balls off Shivil Kaushik’s first over to take KKR to 57/4 at the halfway stage. With the help of odd boundaries, the duo took KKR over the 100-run mark in the 16th over. Yusuf then raced to his second fifty of the season off 31 balls, which included a six and six fours. Shakib took the aggressor’s role in the 18th over, smashing two consecutive sixes off Dwayne Bravo, and completed his fifty off 41 balls with the help of three maximums and three fours. Shakib hit another six off Bravo in the final over and remained unbeaten on 66 off 49 balls with four sixes and four boundaries, while Yusuf contributed 63 not out off 41 balls, which included a six and seven fours as they pushed KKR to a respectable total of 158/4. While doing so, they added an IPL record 134 runs for the fifth wicket.
Smith and Brendon McCullum started the chase watchfully and took Gujarat to 36/0 after five overs. Smith then hit first six of the innings off Shakib in the sixth over, but was clean bowled in the next ball. He scored a six and four boundaries in his brisk knock of 27 off 18 balls. McCullum, who was playing on 10 off 15, increased the tempo in the seventh over as he smashed a four and two sixes to score 17 off Morne Morkel. But McCullum also didn’t last long as he was caught by Manish Pandey at long-on off Piyush Chawla in the next over. The former New Zealand batsman scored 29 off 24 balls with the help of two sixes and three fours.
Dinesh Karthik maintained the momentum set by the openers, as he smacked three consecutive fours off Brad Hogg in the ninth over and took Gujarat to 89/2 after 10 overs. With the asking rate just seven per over, Karthik hit a six and three more fours in the next four overs to keep the score ticking. Gujarat reached 120/3 in 14 overs – 39 runs shy of the target with 36 balls left. Aaron Finch came out all guns blazing as he hit Shakib for a four and a six to take 15 from the 15th over. The Australian then plundered 16 off Piyush Chawla in the next over, hitting two fours and a six. Hogg returned in the 17th over and dismissed Karthik, soon after the batsman raced to his 12th IPL fifty off 27 balls. Karthik hit a six and eight fours in his match-winning 29-ball 51. And in the 18th over, Finch was run-out after a mix-up with Ravindra Jadeja with the scores tied. He scored 29 off 10 balls with the help of two sixes and three fours.