Kanpur: Gujarat Lions performed brilliantly at Kanpur on Thursday to outclass Kolkata Knight Riders by 6 wickets. Gujarat Lions moved up to the second position in the IPL points table after registering their eighth win against Kolkata Knight Riders on Thursday. Apple CEO Tim Cook witnessed the match and expressed his enthusiasm about the sports and about the crowd.
Kolkata Knight Rider’s tactics did not have the spark that it desperately needed. Shakib and Chawla did not bowl in the second half.
Gujarat Lions overcame a scary start to not only beat Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) by six wickets at the Green Park Stadium here on Thursday but also vault to the second spot of the Indian Premier League table.
Skipper Suresh Raina, who missed the previous match following the birth of his daughter in Holland, led from the front with an unbeaten 53 to anchor the team to their eighth win with 27 balls to spare.
The Kolkata Knight Riders registered a meager score of 124 runs in 20 overs. To win the match, Gujarat Lions will have to make 125 runs to win the match.
The Gujarat Lions bowlers looked in superb condition at Kanpur as they took out wickets after wickets without conceding many boundaries every passing over. Kolkata Knight Riders, although subdued, managed to keep calm in a situation which demanded electric combination in the pitch.
Gujarat Lions won the toss and elected to bowl first for the match.
Regular captain Suresh Raina will be back for the tie at the Green Park stadium to boost the team’s confidence after skipping the Royal Challengers Bangalore match to be alongside his pregnant wife who gave birth to a daughter recently. It was Raina’s first IPL match missed since 2008.
On the contrary the Knight’s may have to go into this game without their star all rounder Andre Russell who suffered a hamstring pull in the last game.
KKR have 7 wins from 12 outings so far and if they grab all two points against Gujarat they will be almost sure of a play-off spot. The Lions also have as many wins as KKR but they have a lesser net run-rate.
Both teams come into the encounter after being battered by the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). First it was the Lions who faced the wrath of the Virat Kohli led side suffering a humiliating 144-run defeat last Saturday.
Twin centuries from Kohli and AB de Villiers helped their side reach a mammoth 248/3 and then RCB bowled Gujarat out for a paltry 104. KKR were then handed a 9-wicket thrashing.
Gujarat know they have to pull up their socks in the next tie. Raina’s return can be a boon for the home side as he has been prolific over the last nine seasons of the league.
And if the likes of Brendon Mccullum, Dwayne Smith and Aaron Finch fire, the rival bowlers will have a tough time.
The last time these two sides had met at the Eden Gardens, the Lions had come out on top and it will be interesting to see what Gautam Gambhir will do to turn the tables this time around.
The home side might look to get in Dale Steyn and James Faulkner in the side to strengthen their bowling. The wily fast bowlers might prove to be handy against the in form KKR batsmen.
The Knights have suffered problems in their top order but they have been able to put healthy totals on the board frequently.
They will want middle order batsman Yusuf Pathan to fire if they are to score heavily. However, the void left by Russell may be difficult to fill.
Spinners have been the main weapon of the Knights this season but the Green Park strip may not offer much to the likes of Piyush Chawla and Sunil Narine.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Gautam Gambhir (captain), Robin Uthappa, Manish Pandey, Yusuf Pathan, Suryakumar Yadav, Shakib Al Hasan, Piyush Chawla, Sunil Narine, Ankit Rajpoot, Morne Morkel, Chris Lynn, Colin Munro, Brad Hogg, Shaun Tait, Jason Holder, Umesh Yadav, Sheldon Jackson, Jaydev Unadkat and Rajagopal Sathish.
Gujarat Lions: Suresh Raina (captain), Dwayne Smith, Brendon McCullum, Aaron Finch, Dinesh Karthik, Ravindra Jadeja, Dale Steyn, James Faulkner, Ishan Kishan, Praveen Kumar, Dhawal Kulkarni, Shivil Kaushik, Dwayne Bravo, Sarabjit Ladda, Amit Mishra, Akashdeep Nath, Paras Dogra, Eklavya Dwivedi, Shadab Jakati, Pradeep Sangwan, Jaydev Shah, Umang Sharma, Pravin Tambe, Andrew Tye.