Gujarat Lions suffered a mini-collapse during the middle overs of their chase of 188 against Kolkata Knight Riders. They lost three quick wickets. One more, and it could have given Kolkata a major opening for a comeback. But there was Suresh Raina still batting out in the middle, and can you rule an Indian Premier League legend like to not help his team in tough situations? (Results | Fixtures | Points Table)
That is exactly what Raina did. The Gujarat captain played a masterful innings of 84 runs off just 46 deliveries to help his team beat Kolkata by 4 wickets in IPL 2017.
While it was a challenging target playing at the Eden Gardens, Raina never made it look like that. He played one of the most smooth innings and carried his team in the chase.
Raina, who was previously with Chennai Super Kings in IPL, made the chase look so easy that his team won in 18.2 overs and four wickets in hand.
Neither did he play any unorthodox shots nor he showed any panic while wickets fell at the other end. He played proper cricketing shots and made sure his strikes were clean.
In his innings, Raina hit nine fours and four sixes, who big ones. He rotated the strike to keep the run-rate at a high level and whenever a wicket fell, he took it upon himself to rebuild.
That did not mean that the scoring rate fell. Raina hit boundaries at will. He played the lofted cover drive, the flick of the wrist and even opened the bat’s face to full deliveries.
His innings might have done a whole lot of good to Gujarat by inspiring the teammates. And if he can reproduce such innings a couple more times, Gujarat fortunes might change in this IPL.