Suresh Raina hit a blazing knock of 84 in just 46 balls to take Gujarat Lions to a much-needed four-wicket win over Kolkata Knight Riders on Friday at the Eden Gardens. This was Gujarat’s second win in the tournament and the fact that it came against the second-placed team on the point’s table will be even sweeter.

Sunil Narine and Gautam Gambhir got Kolkata off to a flier but Gujarat Lions put the brakes on as KKR finished on 187/6 in their 20 overs. Gujarat Lions also had a brilliant start off their own but a rain break interrupted their momentum as they lost wickets in a heap. But Raina held firm and played the perfect finisher’s knock to take Gujarat to a victory which they richly required .

Here comes the Narine Slam!

Image credit: Ron Gaunt/IPL/Sportzpics
Image credit: Ron Gaunt/IPL/Sportzpics

Sunil Narine came out to open again. Gujarat Lions had faced Lynn-sanity earlier. On Friday night, they faced a Narine-storm.

Narine single-handedly took 12 off the first over, 16 off the second over, 14 off the third over. He scored 42 in 17 in total, dealing in boundaries. Suresh Raina was forced to bring himself on and managed to get him. But the damage was done. It was utter madness. The license to hit. Wow.

Uthappa’s class

Image credit: Ron Gaunt/IPL/Sportzpics
Image credit: Ron Gaunt/IPL/Sportzpics

When he gets going, Robin Uthappa makes it so easy. Sure, he doesn’t go “wham-bam-thank you, Sam”, but he makes up for it with a dazzling array of flicks, cuts, scoops and drives over extra over. By the time you blink, he’s on to 50 and more. Gambhir scored 33 but it was really Uthappa who carried on Narine’s good work with his breezy little 48-ball 72.

Thampi’s good last over

Image credit: Ron Gaunt/Sportzpics/IPL
Image credit: Ron Gaunt/Sportzpics/IPL

Kolkata Knight Riders finished on 187/5 in their 20 overs and Gujarat Lions would take it considering the kind of start KKR got off to, very well-placed at 96/1 after the first 10 overs. Basil Thampi had a tough first three overs, conceding 37 and came back well in last over, the 20th over, conceding only seven runs and accounting for Manish Pandey’s wicket.

Gujarat Lions give KKR a taste of their own medicine

Image credit: Prashant Bhoot/IPL/Sportzpics
Image credit: Prashant Bhoot/IPL/Sportzpics

Brendon McCullum had a new opener to the chase, Aaron Finch. And the two decided to repay Kolkata Knight Riders back in their own coin. Sunil Narine learnt how it felt to be on the opposite end of a belter as Finch got stuck into him and took 16 off his over. Nathan Coulter-Nile did dismiss Finch for a 15-ball 31 but McCullum continued on his merry ways. Gujarat Lions brought up their fifty in just 23 balls, their fastest in IPL history. By the time, the rain break arrived, they were 62/1 after five overs.

But the rain break destroys their momentum

Image credit Ron Gaunt/Sportzpics/IPL
Image credit Ron Gaunt/Sportzpics/IPL

The rain break couldn’t have come at a worse time though. Cruising at 62/1, the loss of momentum really hurt Gujarat badly as they lost Brendon McCullum and Dinesh Karthik in quick succession and getting just 21 runs in the next three overs.

Narine’s luck doesn’t carry over to his bowlimg

Image credit: Ron Gaunt/IPL/Sportzpics
Image credit: Ron Gaunt/IPL/Sportzpics

Sunil Narine is a miserly customer. His bowling figures in the last four matches read 1/22, /19, 1/18 and 1/20. But Gujarat Lions have always played him well. McCullum hammered him for 16 in his first over and Raina hammered a few as well. He gave away only a run in the first four balls of his last over but Jadeja undid all his good work by slamming a six and a two off the last two balls. Narine finished with 0/42 in his four overs, coincidentally the same number of runs he slammed with the bat.

Suresh Raina does it on his own

Prashant Bhoot/IPL/Sportzpics
Prashant Bhoot/IPL/Sportzpics

Suresh Raina. He’s an IPL legend. And if you thought he was gone, Raina was out to prove the world wrong in a blazing, captain’s knock. Gujarat Lions may have gone off to a flier but they were losing wickets at regular intervals and were in danger of their chase being derailed. But Raina wasn’t going to let a chance of a much-required win get away that easily. His interventions came when most required, a six and four off Umesh Yadav just after Dwayne Smith’s wicket and 14 off the pace of Nathan Coulter-Nile. He was finally dismissed for a 46-ball 84 but it was a knock which he’ll be very proud of.

Brief scores:

Kolkata Knight Riders 187/5 in 20 overs (Robin Uthappa 72, Sunil Narine 42; Suresh Raina 1/11, Praveen Kumar 1/24) lost to Gujarat Lions 188/6 in 18.2 overs (Suresh Raina 84, Brendon McCullum 34, Kuldeep Yadav 2/33, Nathan Coulter-Nile 2/41) by four wickets