Suresh Raina won the toss and elected to bowl first at Eden Gardens. We made one change from the last match as Shakib Al Hasan came in for Colin de Grandhomme.
Another fast start from the openers
Sunil Narine accompanied Gautam Gambhir again and the former wasted no time to show his intent. Narine literally blasted from the first over under the Eden lights. The first two overs costed 29 overs and 28 were scored by Narine. The run-rate increased more as Narine added another 14 runs in that over, all in boundaries. Gujarat Lions captain, Raina then introduced himself and the plan worked as Narine mistimed one and was caught by Faulkner. Narine made 42 in just 17 balls. But in spite of the fall of the wicket, there was no dip in the run-rate. The pair of Gambhir and Uthappa then showed their class as they placed the ball in the gaps perfectly to get the fours and sixes. At the end of 10 overs, we were at 96/1 and the pair looking well-settled at the crease.
Batsmen continue to score at a brisk rate
Raina tried to vary his bowling options but they could not get him the breakthrough. The pair did not take any risk but still were scoring at a good rate. 100 was up in 11th over for us as the Lions searched for another wicket. James Faulkner was brought into the attack by Raina as he removed Gambhir for 33. Then arrived in-form Manish Pandey and carried on from where he left in Delhi. The duo kept the scoreboard ticking with constantly scoring 8-10 runs per over. Uthappa brought his 50 in 35 balls as Pandey settled at the other end. At the end of 18 overs, we were 168/2. Uthappa, in the humid conditions, got out in the 19th over for 72 from 48 balls. Pandey and Suryakumar were dismissed in the 20th over as we ended on 187/5.
Lions get off to a flier
The opening pair of Brendon McCullum and Aaron Finch exploded against the spinners in the opening overs. After 3 overs, they raced away to 40/0 with Finch scoring 31 off 12 balls and McCullum on 8. The introduction of pace reaped rewards as Coulter-Nile removed Aaron Finch for 31. The Kiwi carried on with Suresh Raina and at the end of 5 overs, the scoreboard read 62/1. But the play was halted as rain interrupted the free-flowing match.
Rain-break shifts momentum in our way
After the short break, the play resumed with no deduction in the number of overs. After the end of the Powerplay, Gambhir introduced Woakes and Coulter-Nile from the ends as they struck in successive overs. First Woakes took the dangerous McCullum out of the way for 33 and then Coulter-Nile removed Karthik for 3. As things looked in control for us, the partnership between Raina and Ishan Kishan steadied ship for the visitors. Raina played the attacking shots as Ishan played the supporting role. At the end of 10 overs, GL were 99/3.
Raina shows his class
Kuldeep Yadav broke the partnership as Ishan Kishan threw his wicket for 4. We struck again as the other Yadav, Umesh, removed Dwayne Smith for 5. Things were looking positive for us but then Gujarat Lions captain Suresh Raina, came into his own to play a classic knock. He timed the ball perfectly and found the gaps to play a chanceless knock. Raina completed yet another IPL fifty in 32 balls and carried on from there. Needing 55 in the last 6 overs, he started to play the big shots and the run-rate lowered down automatically. Jadeja gave him able support at the other hand but Raina threw his wicket to finally departed for a well-made 84. Jadeja and Faulkner then finished the formalities to secure a 4-wicket win for them. ‘We still have a lot of positives to take from the match. We need to give credit to the opposition at times,’ quoted captain Gautam Gambhir at the presentation.