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Gautam Gambhir, Chris Lynn blaze away in record chase

Kolkata Knight Riders took down a target of 184 without losing a single wicket – a world record in T20 cricket – and the man that did the heavy lifting was Chris Lynn.

Gambhir-Lynn

Promoted to open the batting for only the second time in 86 T20s, he equalled the franchise’s second-fastest fifty – off 19 balls – put on the IPL’s highest opening partnership – 184* – with Gautam Gambhir and finally secured victory with 5.1 overs to spare.

The result – as emphatic as it was – highlighted Gujarat Lions’ weak bowling attack and the mistake they made by choosing four opening batsmen as their overseas players.

Lynnsanity – 93 not out off 41 balls, eight sixes, six fours

Making Lynn bat as high as possible makes sense. He smacks fast bowling at an average of 43.10 and at a run-rate of 10.19 an over. At his most recent T20 tournament – the Big Bash – he hit a boundary every four balls.

Brendon McCullum, his captain at the Brisbane Heat, told the commentators that the idea of bowling a good length to Lynn was a non-starter. The very length that makes Praveen Kumar and Dhawal Kulkarni potent. As a result, Gujarat Lions’ best bowlers were used for only three out of the first six overs.

Left-arm wristspinner Shivil Kaushik, in only his second season of the IPL, and Manpreet Gony, playing in the tournament for the first time since 2013, were asked to pick up the slack in the fielding restrictions. It led to a Knight Riders record as they made their highest score in the Powerplay – 73 runs.

Gambhir’s rage – 76 not out off 48 balls, 12 fours

Gambhir actually outscored Lynn at the start, so much that he made his best score after six overs in the IPL. Of the 40 runs he made in this period, 16 came in a single over off Kaushik, whose unorthodox bowling action tends to affect his control.

Kaushik was perhaps introduced into the attack to mess with Lynn’s timing, but Gambhir, being an excellent player of spin, took charge. The head-to-head on the night read 23 runs off 13 balls with five fours.

With both ends leaking runs, Lions were simply unsure of what to do. And that was all dandy for the Knight Riders captain, who racked up his 32nd IPL fifty, two short of David Warner’s record.

Lions’ bowling woes

Chasing teams had won four out of five IPL matches in Rajkot before Friday, but Lions would have fancied their chances, all the way up to the point where five of their six bowlers conceded economy rates of 10 and more. Kulkarni was smashed for 42 in 2.5 overs, Gony 32 in two, Kaushik 40 in four , Dwayne Smith 23 in one and Shadab Jakati 30 in three.

Two of their first-choice picks – Dwayne Bravo and Ravindra Jadeja – are injured. Their eight overs were sorely missed. Considering the team management would have known that going into the game, it was a surprise that James Faulkner and Andrew Tye were ignored. Their ability to change the pace and bowl yorkers would have been useful in throwing off Lynn and Gambhir, who were basically pressing forward, lining the balls up, and golf-swinging them for six.

Whens Lions had it good

Fifty three runs in the final four overs. That’s the high Lions were brought down from. Their batsmen had done well to not buckle under pressure through the middle overs. Not even when they made only 39 runs in six overs between the 10th and 16th.

Suresh Raina had never made a fifty in his first match of an IPL season. He corrected that with an innings that wasn’t always perfect but pretty useful. If people wanted to point out his four mis-hits fell between fielders, two dropped catches and the missing of an easy run-out chance, he can point to the scoreboard and say he made 68 off 51 balls.

Dinesh Karthik was the other batting mastermind. He hit 11.28 runs per over – his second-highest in an innings of 25 balls or more. His 47 was the cameo Lions needed especially after their openers fell after helping put on 52 runs inside the Powerplay.

Brendon McCullum smashed Kuldeep Yadav for a six and four before hitting across the line and falling lbw. It was the 21st time he has fallen to left-arm spin in the IPL and now averages 17.80 against it. Jason Roy was undone by Piyush Chawla, which brought his tally against legspin in T20s to 48 runs off 47 balls and five dismissals.

Credit:@Espncricinfo

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