As Gautam Gambhir walked backed to the pavillion, his face wore a tense look. Rain had set in in Kolkata and it was something that Gambhir was not hoping for. The Kolkata Knight Riders captain knew that Gujarat Lions were ahead on the Duckworth-Lewis method. And that was not good for his team. After five overs in their chase, Gujarat were 62 for the loss of one wicket and 21 runs ahead of the D/L method, chasing 188 against Kolkata. (Results | Fixtures | Points Table)
But play resumed shortly after and Kolkata picked up four Gujarat wickets in quick time to reduce them to 122 for the loss of five wickets. Hoping they can still pull it back, Gambhir kept up the pressure up mixing up Umesh Yadav, Kuldeep Yadav and Sunil Narine in the bowling attack.
While the three bowlers did control the run flow, they could not control Suresh Raina, who single-handedly set up a four-wicket win for Gujarat at the Eden Gardens. The Gujarat captain played a 84-run innings off just 46 balls and made sure of his team’s second victory of the season.
Gujarat were on Raina never looked under pressure and attacked every KKR bowler. His knock consisted of nine fours and four sixes. By the time he was dismissed by Kuldeep Yadav in the 18th over, caught at point, his team needed only eight runs to win.
Ravindra Jadeja, who finished with 19 runs, smashed a four off the second ball of the 19th over to finish the game. James Faulkner was the other unbeaten batsman.
As they came out to chase, Gujarat sent Aaron Finch and Brendon McCullum as the openers and the former began the innings with a flurry of boundaries. He had hit four fours and two sixes to take Gujarat to 40 off the first three overs but a short ball from Nathan Coulter-Nile ended his stay. He played a hook straight to Manish Pandey at fine-leg.
But then McCullum took over and attacked the bowlers. Just when he got going, rain interrupted play. After the break, he was dismissed for 33 while Dinesh Karthik also fell shortly after.
Kolkata were making a comeback into the game and it got better as Kuldeep had Ishan Kishan caught at deep square-leg. But Jadeja and Raina did not let any bowler dominate after that and made quick runs.
It was not a good day for Kolkata bowlers as Narine was hit for 42 runs off his four overs while Coulter-Nile, who picked up two wickets, gave 41 runs in 3.2 overs. Kuldeep also gave 33 runs for his two wickets. Umesh went for 17 runs off two overs while Shakib Al Hasan was hit for 31 runs off three overs.
Asked to bat first, Kolkata were off to a flying start as Narine, who opened once again, smoke 42 off just 16 balls. He scored all his runs through boundaries; nine fours and a six.
But the run-rate fell once he was dismissed by Raina. Gambhir and Robin Uthappa shared a 69-run stand for the third wicket before the captain was dismissed by Faulkner. Uthappa scored a half-century but was dismissed for 72 by Praveen Kumar.
The final four overs could only get 38 runs for Kolkata as they lost wickets and momentum at death. For Gujarat, Praveen, Faulkner, Basil Thampi and Raina picked up a wicket each.