KANPUR: Gujarat Lions made good their war cry -Game Maari Chee (Game is ours) – as they thumped Kolkata Knight Riders by six wickets in a crucial IPL match at Green Park on Thursday. The win places the Lions comfortably for a playoff berth. They now have 16 points, with a game to go against Mumbai Indians on Saturday.
All this was set up by Dwayne Smith’s career-best T20 spell, when he claimed four wickets for eight runs in his four-over spell to restrict KKR to a modest score of 124.
After that, there was some drama as Smith couldn’t replicate his act with the bat and was dismissed by local lad Ankit Rajpoot on the first ball of the Lions’ innings. There were some further clouds of trouble when Brendon McCullum and Dinesh Karthik too left early. But skipper Suresh Raina and Aaron Finch put together a 59run partnership to make it safe for the home side.
After Finch departed, run-out after a mix-up between the two players, Ravindra Jadeja proved an ideal foil at the other end as Raina raced to an unbeaten 53 (36b, 6×1, 4×7) to pilot his side home. Earlier, after the Lions had called correctly with the coin and decided to field, Smith came up as surprise package to cage the Knight Riders to their lowest total of the season.
After skipper Gautam Gambhir was run out, thanks to a brilliant piece of fielding by Shadab Jakati at mid-wicket, it was a Smith show all the way under the lights here for the first time. He used the slowness of the strip to his advantage to have Manish Pandey caught by Raina in the slips to start the act. Then, he had the dangerous looking Robin Uthappa nicking behind to peg back the Kolkata side further.