Gujarat Lions finally managed to stop the rot, and produced a clinical display to beat a consistent Kolkata Knight Riders' side by five wickets with two overs remaining at Eden Gardens on Sunday.
The win was set up by the bowlers in the first power-play of the match, with Lions seamers toying with KKR top-order. It was 24/4 at 5.5 overs, but a fifth record IPL partnership between Shakib Al Hasan and Yusuf Pathan provided the home side a total to fight for.
But a team hell bent on stopping the three-match losing run, a target of 159 was never going to be enough. As usual, openers Dwayne Smith and Brendon McCullum laid the foundation for a successful chase once again.
Then, a very technical Dinesh Karthik and explosive Aaron Finch made sure that the win was a comfortable one for them.
However, the man of the match was Praveen Kumar for his 2 for 19 from his four overs, which also included a maiden over.
GUJARAT LIONS INNINGS; TARGET 159
Over 18 || Score 164/5 (R Jadeja 9; D Bravo 0)
A dot ball to Ravindra Jadeja to start the over, then a double. Needing single, Gujarat Lions lost Aaron Finch to a run-out. And the Aussie was angry. No call from Jadeja.
WICKET: Aaron Finch run out 29 (10b)
New man is Dwayne Bravo, but after a dot ball, Jadeja hit a six to wrap up the proceedings.
Over 17 || Score 156/4 (A Finch 29; R Jadeja 1)
Call it a fight-back. Veteran Aussie spinner Brad Hogg got the wicket of Dinesh Karthik. Good stumping from Robin Uthappa, after missing a tough caught behind chance the very previous ball.
WICKET: Dinesh Karthik st Robin Uthappa b Brad Hogg 51 (29b)
Five runs and a wicket from the over.
Karthik hit the first ball for a four to complete his fifty, off 27 balls.
EQUATION: 3 runs required from 18 balls.
Over 16 || Score 151/3 (D Karthik 47; A Finch 29)
Bigger one coming. Aaron Finch taken Piyush Chawla to the cleaners. A single to start the over, then Finch hit first of the two fours this over. On front foot, and played a good looking sweep shot, for four runs.
Next ball, a shorter one, and Finch drove it through cover.
It was followed by a six, slogging. A dot ball to end the over, but 16 runs have already been accounted from it.
EQUATION: 8 from 24 balls. End is nigh.
Over 15 || Score 135/3 (D Karthik 46; A Finch 14)
Another big over for the batting side. Gujarat Lions lost their skipper in the previous over, but the newly arrived Aaron Finch played as if he has been there for some time.
A four to start, through cover. Then a double. The Aussie hit the third ball for a six, over cover boundary.
Three singles, and Shakib Al Hasan felt like crying.
Lions need another 24 runs from 30 balls.
Over 14 || Score 120/3 (D Karthik 45; A Finch 0)
49-run third wicket partnership between Suresh Raina and Dinesh Karthik broken with the skipper falling to Andre Russell, thanks to a catch at fine leg by Brad Hogg.
WICKET: Suresh Raina c Bradd Hogg b Andre Russell 14 (18b)
That happened off the fifth ball of the over, and the over finished with a four as Karthik continued to play his attacking game, hitting through through third man.
The second ball of the over was also hit for a four, as Karthik played a pull shot with control, along the ground.
Over 13 || Score 112/2 (S Raina 14; D Karthik 36)
Morne Morkel on for his last over. Conceded eight runs in the last over, and for figures of 4-0-38-0.
Dinesh Karthik, who hit a four off the fourth ball, is playing really well.
Gujarat Lions need 48 runs from 42 balls.
Over 12 || Score 103/2 (S Raina 12; D Karthik 30)
Umesh Yadav continued for his second over, and the fast bowler leaked 10 runs.
It started with a dot ball to Dinesh Karthik. But the second ball, a shorter one, was hooked for a six.
Two singles off three balls, then Karthik played through cover for a double.
Over 11 || Score 93/2 (S Raina 11; D Karthik 21)
Finally, a decent over for the fielding side. Morne Morkel conceded four runs, all singles, only.
Equation: Gujarat Lions require another 66 runs from 54 balls.
Over 10 || Score 89/2 (S Raina 9; D Karthik 19)
The first half of the second part is done.
Umesh Yadav on for the fielding side. Nine runs from it, including a four to Dinesh Karthik, who's batting with purpose.
Gujarat Lions need another 70 runs from 60 balls.
Over 9 || Score 81/2 (S Raina 7; D Karthik 13)
Three consecutive fours, and two singles before and after that spell, for 14 runs.
That's Brad Hogg's first over. He started with a dot ball, followed by a single to Suresh Raina. Then, Dinesh Karthik took over.
First one, played along the ground and beat the fielder at third man. Then, two fours at the same area - long-on.
Over 8 || Score 63/2 (S Raina 6; D Karthik 0)
Piyush Chawla returned for his second over, and the spinner has worked his magic.
Four singles off the first four balls, then a restless Brendon McCullum came down to play lofted shot. But he holed out at long-on, where Manish Pandey completed a clean catch.
WICKET: Brendon McCullum c Manish Pandey b Piyush Chawla 29 (24b)
Murali Karthik is the new man. Four runs and a wicket. Brilliant effort from the spinner.
Over 7 || Score 63/1 (B McCullum 27; S Raina 4)
Morne Morkel returned for his second over, and a huge one. 17 runs from it as Brendon McCullum reminded everyone that he is still relevant.
A four, then a six. A dot ball followed, then a six. A dot ball then a single.
The first boundary was a result of a slap shot, and it vanished. Then the six, a short ball and over third man. The second six was huge, deposited in the stands over mid-wicket.
Over 6 || Score 46/1 (B McCullum 10; S Raina 4)
Shakib Al Hasan returned for his second over. And what an eventful one.
The Bangladeshi all-rounder started with a dot ball to Dwayne Smith. It was followed by a flat six, over deep square leg. Then bowled Smith.
WICKET: Dwayne Smith b Shakib Al Hasan 27 (18b)
Gujarat Lions skipper Suresh Raina arrived, and a dot ball. Another dot ball, and while fielding off his own bowling, Shakib seemed to have twisted his right ankle. Medication and strapping required.
After a brief stoppage, Raina played a cover drive, for four.
Over 5 || Score 36/0 (D Smith 21; B McCullum 10)
What a first over from Piyush Chawla. Two singles. Gujarat Lions need another 123 runs from 15 overs.
Over 4 || Score 34/0 (D Smith 20; B McCullum 9)
Andre Russell on for his second over and he leaked 11 runs, including five wides and a four. The West Indian al-rounder missed everything.
A dot ball to start to Dwayne Smith, then a single. It was followed by a five wides, no chance for Robin Uthappa to stop that bouncer.
A four followed as Smith picked the full toss, and played it fine. Two dot balls, but still a big one.
Over 3 || Score 23/0 (D Smith 15; B McCullum 8)
Back-to-back good overs for Gujarat Lions. 13 runs from Shakib Al Hasan's first over, which included three fours also.
A dot toe start the over, then Dwayne Smith played it behind square for the first four. A dot ball, them the West Indian drilled through extra cover, where Suryakumar Yadav performed a sloppy, sloppy fielding.
A single, then another four, this time from the blade of Brendon McCullum.
Over 2 || Score 10/0 (D Smith 6; B McCullum 4)
After Morne Morkel shared the new ball with Andre Russell, and the spell started with a four. Short, and on middle and Dwayne Smith heaved for a four through mid-wicket.
A single, then Brendon McCullum — who seemed to have survived a genuine caught behind appeal — rocked hard for four. He stood tall, and play a cut shot of ferocious power.
Morkel did well to end the over with three dot balls. Nine runs from the over.
Over 1 || Score 1/0 (D Smith 1; B McCullum 0)
After that innings of two parts, wherein KKR scored more than a 100 in the second part, Andre Russell started the defence by beating Dwayne Smith with a beauty. Shaping away, after pitching the off stump line.
A single followed, then Brendon McCullum took three balls to came down and a catch, but not given. KKR players are livid. It looked, and sounded out, caught behind.
A single from the over.
KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS INNINGS
Over 20 || Score 158/4 (Al Hasan 66; Y Pathan 63)
Dwayne Bravo on for last over of the innings. A single to Shakib Al Hasan to start, then a single. After two slower deliveries, Bravo bowled a perfect medium pace delivery on the off stump, and Shakib picked and smashed a six over mid-wicket.
A dot ball followed, then change of gloves for Shakib, with due permission from the umpires.
A single, then another single off a wide as Bravo sent down the leg. Good save from Dinesh Karthik.
A crunchy drive, good fielding at deep restricted it to a double. 13 runs from the over. Bravo's figures: 4-0-39-0.
And record fifth-wicket partnership in IPL. 134 runs in 14.1 overs. Previous best were unbroken 130 between Owais Shah and Angelo Mathews, also for KKR, in 2010; and David Miller-Rajagopal Sathish for Kings XI Punjab in 2013.
Over 19 || Score 145/4 (Al Hasan 56; Y Pathan 62)
Praveen Kumar returned for his final over. A single to Yusuf Pathan, then a slow slow bouncer, which was scooped by Shakib Al Hasan for a four, and his fifty off 42 balls.
A single, then a dead ball even as Praveen bolwed Pathan. Very late pull out from the batsman and umpire Marais Erasmus ruled it a dead ball.
A single, then Shakib picked up a low full toss and scooped it for a four. A single, and 12 runs from the over.
Brilliant figures from Praveen though, 4-1-19-2.
Over 18 || Score 133/4 (Al Hasan 46; Y Pathan 60)
Dwayne Bravo continued for his third over.
Back-to-back sixes to start, as Shakib Al Hasan changed his gears. First one, over long-on off a fullish delivery. Second one, down the ground, again off another fullish delivery.
A single, then a dot ball. A single, then the last ball ended with a well disguise slower delivery. 14 runs from the over.
Meanwhile, Shakib and Yusuf have posted a 109-run stand from 12.1 overs.
And fifty runs from the last five overs.
Over 17 || Score 118/4 (Al Hasan 33; Y Pathan 58)
Dhawal Kulkarni returned for his final over. A four to start the over, a top edge over the wicket-keeper. A dot followed as Yusuf tried to pull it, but the ball deflected and hit his body. Brief halt as he required medical attention.
A wide as the play resume. Then a double as Yusuf's cut shot fell short of Pravin Tambe at point. Pathan flicked the next ball from the middle, for a single.
A clean strike from Shakib Al Hasan, for a single as the fielder at sweeper cover made good grounds. A single to the over. Ten runs from Kulkarni's last over.
His figures: 4-0-29-1
Over 16 || Score 108/4 (Al Hasan 32; Y Pathan 50)
First ball after the second TIME-OUT hit for a big six by Shakib Al Hasan, over mid-wicket boundary, deep into the stands.
It was followed by a crunching cover drive, but it was fielded just outside the ring by a sliding Suresh Raina.
A dot ball, then a single as Yusuf Pathan played square. Another bad delivery, on the leg, but Shakib failed to make the most out it — only a single after playing towards fine-leg.
Pathan then played a pull shot to complete his fifty, off 31 balls. 10 runs from Dwayne Bravo's second over.
Over 15 || Score 98/4 (Al Hasan 24; Y Pathan 48)
Ravindra Jadeja's tactics — target Shakib Al Hasan's legs, and bowl wide to Yusuf Pathan.
It worked until the fourth ball, with runs coming in singles. But Pathan managed to made a decent contact and the ball raced through cover, for a four.
An inside edge, again, and a double to end the 10-run over.
Over 14 || Score 88/4 (Al Hasan 23; Y Pathan 40)
Pravin Tambe, lucky to have conceded only five runs in his second over. Four runs off the first five balls, then a loose lollipop full toss. But Yusuf Pathan could play a mistimed straight drive, for a single.
Over 13 || Score 83/4 (Al Hasan 22; Y Pathan 36)
Certainly, a good period of play for Kolkata Knight Riders.
Ravindra Jadeja continued with his second over, and a single to Yusuf Pathan. Three more singles followed, before Pathan hit his fifth four. A lucky one, inside edge.
A single to end the nine-run over.
Over 12 || Score 74/4 (Al Hasan 20; Y Pathan 29)
Pravin Tambe on. Third over with a new bowler for Gujarat Lions.
A dot ball to Shakib Al Hasan, then a single, which was followed by a four from the bat of Yusuf Pathan, past square.
A dot ball, then a single. Shakib reached out to make contact, and it raced through third man area.
10 runs from the over. And fifty-run stand between Shakib and Pathan, off 38 balls.
Over 11 || Score 64/4 (Al Hasan 15; Y Pathan 24)
Double bowling change. Ravindra Jadeja on.
Over the wicket, and a straighter to Shakib Al Hasan. A dot ball. One more dot ball, then a single towards mid-wicket.
Then, Yusuf Pathan played a delicate, late cut shot for a four. Two singles, and seven runs from the over.
Over 10 || Score 57/4 (Al Hasan 13; Y Pathan 19)
Shivil Kaushik on for Gujarat Lions. A single to Yusuf Pathan, pitched up, and the batsman pushed striaght. A single, then Pathan hit a straight six over the bowler's head. Then a four, though extra cover.
Two more singles, and 14 runs from the over.
Over 9 || Score 43/4 (Al Hasan 11; Y Pathan 7)
Milking the situation, Dwayne Bravo started with a two-run over with his mixed deliveries.
A dot ball to start the over, to Shakib Al Hasan. Then a single off the next ball.
Yusuf Pathan, then took three balls to take the second single, before Shakib.
Over 8 || Score 41/4 (Al Hasan 10; Y Pathan 6)
Dwayne Smith continued with his second over. Still with lots of movement.
A dot ball to Shakib Al Hasan, then a wide. A dot, then a single. Another single, then a four. A controlled shot, through backward square leg.
A single to end the over.
Over 7 || Score 33/4 (Al Hasan 4; Y Pathan 5)
Another tidy over from Dhawal Kulkarni. Only five runs — a double off the first delivery, then three more singles.
Kulkarni's figures so far: 3-0-19-1.
Over 6 || Score 28/4 (Al Hasan 0; Y Pathan 4)
And the seamers continued to rock Kolkata Knight Riders. Not a regular bowler, but with enough help coming from the pitch, Suresh Raina introduced Dwayne Smith.
A leg-bye off the second ball, as Shakib Al Hasan continued to negotiate the moving deliveries.
A double followed as Suryakumar Yadav played a not so convincing shot which landed just beyond the chasing fielders at mid-off.
Next ball, an in-cutter, and what a brilliant catch from skipper Suresh Raina at first slip. Spring legs. That was as good a catch anyone would see.
WICKET: Suryakumar Yadav c Suresh Raina b Dwayne Smith 4 (12b)
Then, new man Yusuf Pathan hit a fierce ground stroke for a four, through cover.
Over 5 || Score 21/3 (S Yadav 2; Al Hasan 0)
Then a maiden over from Gujarat Lions. Praveen Kumar's figure so far: 3-1-7-2.
Suryakumar Yadav happy to ate all all six balls.
Over 4 || Score 21/3 (S Yadav 2; Al Hasan 0)
That double-wicket over from Praveen Kumar was followed by a brilliant over from Dhawal Kulkarni.
The over started with a four, to Robin Uthappa, who was looking in supreme touch. A dot ball, then he was gone. Caught behind.
WICKET: Robin Uthappa c Dinesh Karthik b Dhawal Kulkarni 14 (10b)
Shakib Al Hasan joined Suryakumar Yadav in the centre. KKR in deep trouble.
Over 3 || Score 17/2 (R Uthappa 10; S Yadav 2)
What an over from Praveen Kumar, the swing bowler. He started with a well-planned, well-executed wicket of Gautam Gambhir. A leg slip in place, he pitched it around leg, and Gambhir shuffled, as usual. Unlucky for the batsman, onto the pads, and bowled.
WICKET: Gautam Gambhir b Praveen Kumar 5 (6b)
A dot ball, then the new man Manish Pandey failed to control his play, offering a gentle caught behind off a beautiful delivery, which pitched on the off and took off with a hint of swing. Caught behind.
WICKET: Manish Pandey c Dinesh Karthik b Praveen Kumar 0 (2b)
Suryakumar Yadav, the new man, took three balls to took a double.
Over 2 || Score 15/0 (R Uthappa 10; G Gambhir 5)
Dhawal Kulkarni shared the new ball with Praveen Kumar. The right arm fast medium bowler started with a single to Robin Uthappa.
It was followed by another single, then a dot ball to Uthappa — ball shaping away, and there's slip fielders. Another similar delivery, and the same result. Swing and miss.
But the fifth ball, intention was similar, as Kulkarni pitched the ball width off, but the length spoiled and Uthappa played a crunchy cover drive for a four.
Then, another one followed, this was more square. Same results. Good show. 10 runs from the over.
Over 1 || Score 5/0 (R Uthappa 1; G Gambhir 4)
Praveen Kumar started the proceedings. A dot ball to Robin Uthappa, then the Kolkata Knight Riders opener took a single to open the account.
It was followed by a double as KKR skipper Gautam Gambhir gently played down the leg. Another double as Gambhir played towards long leg.
Two dot balls to end the over.
Gujarat Lions: Dwayne Smith, Brendon McCullum, Aaron Finch, Suresh Raina (capt.), Dinesh Karthik (wk), Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, Praveen Kumar, Dhawal Kulkarni, Pravin Tambe, Shivil Kaushik
Kolkata Knight Riders: Robin Uthappa (capt.), Gautam Gambhir(wk), Manish Pandey, Shakib Al Hasan, Yusuf Pathan, Andre Russell, Suryakumar Yadav, Piyush Chawla, Brad Hogg, Morne Morkel, Umesh Yadav
TOSS: Suresh Raina wins toss, asks Kolkata Knight Riders to bat first at Eden Gardens.
— The Gujarat Lions (@TheGujaratLions) May 8, 2016
Umpires: Marais Erasmus and Sundaram Ravi
Third Umpire: Krishnamachari Bharatan
Match Referee: Javagal Srinath
Reserve Umpire: KN Ananthapadmanabhan
Kolkata Knight Riders: Gautam Gambhir (capt.), Robin Uthappa, Manish Pandey, Yusuf Pathan, Andre Russell, Suryakumar Yadav, Piyush Chawla, Brad Hogg, Shakib Al Hasan, Umesh Yadav, Morne Morkel, Sunil Narine, Chris Lynn, Jason Holder, Manan Sharma, Colin Munro, Kuldeep Yadav, Sheldon Jackson, Ankit Rajpoot, Jaydev Unadkat, Rajagopal Sathish,
Gujarat Lions: Suresh Raina (capt.), Dwayne Smith, Brendon McCullum, Aaron Finch, Dinesh Karthik, Ravindra Jadeja, James Faulkner, Ishan Kishan, Praveen Kumar, Dhawal Kulkarni, Shivil Kaushik, Sarabjit Ladda, Amit Mishra, Akashdeep Nath, Dwayne Bravo, Paras Dogra, Eklavya Dwivedi, Shadab Jakati, Pradeep Sangwan, Jaydev Shah, Umang Sharma, Dale Steyn, Pravin Tambe, Andrew Tye.
Thrown off the top spot after three successive losses, Gujarat Lions face the challenging task of gathering themselves and bounce back when they square off against the consistent Kolkata Knight Riders in their Indian Premier League (IPL) match at Eden Gardens.
For the IPL debutants, who showed a lot of promise leading the table miles ahead of others, the Gujarat Lions have started wilting at the business end of the tournament and stand the risk of falling by the wayside after suffering a hat-trick of defeats with their five-wicket loss in Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Eyeing a record third title, the KKR have been in good form and with four more home matches in the offing, there's no stopping Gautam Gambhir and Co.
While other teams have relied on overseas stars, KKR have four Indians in top five and the likes of Manish Pandey and Suryakumar Yadav too have impressed making it a winning combination to go with the fury of Andre Russell and Yusuf Pathan.
In contrast, Suresh Raina is beginning to show signs of struggle, weighed down by the burden of captaincy.
If their top heavy batting comprising the terrific trio of Brendon McCullum, Aaron Finch, Dwayne Smith is a boon, it's also turning out to be their bane.
The trio's failure has translated into the team's losses as their Indian combination of Raina, Ravindra Jadeja and Dinesh Karthik is hardly making any match-winning impact.
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Welcome to our live coverage of the Match 38 of 2016 Indian Premier League between Kolkata Knight Riders and Gujarat Lions, being played at Eden Gardens, Kolkata.