A brilliant spell by Dwayne Smith, taking 4-8, set up the Gujarat Lions for a comprehensive six-wicket win over the Knight Riders on Thursday.
Followed by a solid performance by Suresh Raina, who became the second batsman to reach 4 000 runs in the IPL, after Virat Kohli on Wednesday, the Lions opened up the race to the play-offs.
Raina scored 53 off 36 balls and laid the foundation after the Lions had wobbled early in chasing 125 for victory. That target was largely due to Smith’s best spell in T20s, which had the Riders reeling at 51-6 in the 12th over.
The Lions set off on the hunt at pace, but they found themselves two down for 18 after eight balls. A little calm was called for, and Raina provided it. But he was confident enough to smash a six of Morne Morkel to bring up the magical 4 000. He is now the leading scorer in IPL.
Aaron Finch provided steady support with 26 off 23.
Earlier, it had looked promising for the Knight Riders, taking 34 off the first four overs for the loss of Gautam Gambhir (8). And they were buoyed by Robin Uthappa taking a drop-and-run single in front of mid-on to bring up his 5 000th T20 run.
|Kolkata Knight Riders||13||7||6||14||+0.022|
|Kings XI Punjab||13||4||9||8||-0.693|
Fixtures: Friday: Delhi Daredevils v Sunrisers Hyderabad; Saturday: Rising Pune Supergiants v Kings XI Punjab; Gujarat Lions v Mumbai Indians; Sunday: Kolkata Knight Riders v Sunrisers Hyderabad; Delhi Daredevils v Royal Challengers Bangalore.