IPL 2017: Openers shut case for Kolkata Knight Riders – Whirlwind knocks by Lynn (93*), captain Gambhir (76*) take visitors past target of 184 runs to hand Gujarat Lions 10-wicket drubbing
Kolkata Knight Riders opener Chris Lynn goes on the attack during his unbeaten knock of 93 against the Gujarat Lions at Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Rajkot on Friday — BCCI
Kolkata Knight Riders had a perfect start in a bid to capture a historic third IPL title, winning their opening encounter with a flawless 10-wicket victory over the Gujarat Lions in Rajkot on Friday.
KKR openers Gautam Gambhir and Chris Lynn made the 184-run target look like a cake’s walk, the Indian-Aussie duo notching up 76* and 93*, respectively, to ensure that the visitors knocked off the target in just the 15th over.
Lynn was particularly severe on the Lions bowlers, blasting his fifty off just 19 balls – KKR’s second-fastest half-century ever – that contained eight humongous sixes and six fours. His skipper at the other end was more subdued but equally effective, his 48-ball 76 comprising 12 fours.
The two opening partners ensured that the Lions never had a sniff during the chase, never letting their guard down and not once getting tempted to slog away even when they saw the finish line nearing them.
The fact that none of their other batsmen had to break any sweat before their next game against the Mumbai Indians here on Sunday should give them added belief.
Earlier, Lions captain Suresh Raina led from the front with an unbeaten 68 to propel them to a respectable 183/4.
Raina top-scored for the hosts and consumed 51 balls during his knock which was studded with seven fours.
Besides Raina, Dinesh Karthik (47) and Brendon McCullum played good hands for Gujarat Lions.
For KKR, chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav picked up two wickets while giving away 25 runs.
Sent into bat, hard-hitting Englishman Jason Roy (14) made a breezy start to his IPL debut, smacking two fours off Trent Boult in the opening over.
But Roy’s cameo came to and end in the fourth over when he got a leading edge off a short delivery from Piyush Chawla.
But the wicket hardly made any impact on McCullum’s style of play as he clobbered Chawla for a six just two balls later.
Raina then joined the party and hit Chris Woakes for two fours in the sixth over. The Lions skipper, however, got a reprieve in the fifth ball of the same over when, running backward, Kuldeep failed to latch on to a tough chance.
McCullum looked ominous in his short stay as he welcomed Kuldeep with a four and a six in the next over. But Kuldeep got his revenge in his next over when McCullum missed a straight delivery that caught the Kiwi batsman plumb in front of the wicket.
The Karthik and Raina combo joined hands after Aaron Finch fell cheaply and they shared crucial 87 runs for the fourth wicket.
STAR OF THE DAY
Gautam Gambhir (76*, 48b, 12×4)
Chris Lynn might have blazed away with the spotlight, but Gautam Gambhir played an equally effective role as his partner. He played the perfect second fiddle, and attacked the Lions spinners whenever Lynn took a back seat. Besides, he rotated his bowlers brilliantly as captain to restrict the Lions to 183.
DID YOU KNOW?
Gautam Gambhir and Chris Lynn’s unbroken partnership of 184 was the highest opening stand in the IPL
— with PTI inputs