Gujarat Lions played some quality cricket to defeat Kolkata Knight Riders by six wickets in Kanpur on Thursday. With this victory, Gujarat Lions have moved into second position in the IPL standings.
KKR were not really in the game after scoring 124 runs in their allotted 20 overs, as it was not going to create many problems for the Lions batsmen. Though KKR bowlers were decent with the new ball, it was not enough to restrict or dismiss Lions batsmen, who were superbly led by skipper Suresh Raina.
KKR got off to a fantastic start, dismissing Dwayne Smith in the first ball of the second innings, which must have given them the much needed boost, defending a paltry score. Brendon McCullum also lost his wicket in the second over to Sunil Narine, making the match interesting.
Raina, despite the openers back in the dugout, played his counter-attacking game, and scored runs freely, but the Lions once again received a massive setback with Dinesh Karthik out in the fourth over.
Gujarat Lions were, however, well on track for a win, scoring 55 runs in the first six overs. Raina was flirting with danger as he was playing his shots without any fear. The skipper was well supported by Aaron Finch as well in the middle.
Things were also favouring the left-hander as the batsman's edge was also producing boundaries, but most of the shots came from the middle of the bat, which helped him score an unbeaten 53 runs, and defeat KKR.
His 36-ball 53 played an important role in improving their net run rate to some extent, as they chased down the score with more than six overs to spare.
Earlier, KKR batsmen failed to shine with the bat. KKR have been reliant on openers, Gautam Gambhir and Robin Uthappa, as they have given some brilliant starts to their team in IPL 2016, but the story was different against the Lions as the skipper lost his wicket in the fourth over.
Things did not look any good further as KKR lost wickets at regular intervals. KKR were in all sorts of trouble as they were 61 for the loss of five wickets. Smith was the pick of the bowlers in the middle overs for Gujarat Lions as the West Indian scalped four wickets in his incredible spell, giving away just eight runs.
Yusuf Pathan, who loves to play his shots, changed his game, and played cautiously. The right-hander scored 36 runs, which helped KKR score 124 runs. Suryakumar Yadav also played his part, scoring important 14-ball 17, which comprised one four and a six.
However, GL reached the target in 13.3 overs, which was always on the cards with KKR's opponent comprising world-class batsmen in their ranks.