The Gujarat Lions returned to the top of the IPL standings after overpowering the Kolkata Knight Riders by five wickets at Eden Gardens on Sunday.
After the Lions stormed their way to the top in the early part of the season, the new franchise went on a three-match losing streak, and were desperate for a victory over a side who wanted to return to the top themselves. The victory not only saw them get back to first place, but it saw KKR slip to third after the Sunrisers Hyderabad’s victory earlier in the day.
KKR’s innings was certainly a tale of two halves. They were reeling on 24-4 inside six fruitless powerplay overs, before Yusuf Pathan and Shakib Al Hasan took over with an IPL record fifth-wicket 134-run stand, to get them to 158-4. Pathan scored 63 off 41 balls, while Shakib smashed four sixes on his way to a 49-ball 66.
Despite the emphatic recovery, it was still easy pickings for the Lions, who scored 89 runs in the first 10 overs to set them up for an easy victory. Brendon McCullum (29) and Dwayne Smith (27) scored with venom and purpose, leaving Dinesh Khartik and Aaron Finch to peel off the remaining runs with 12 balls remaining. Morne Morkel had an evening to forget, as he was hit for six boundaries in figures of 0-38 from his four overs.
In the earlier contest, the Sunrisers continue to look a potent force with their third victory in a row, this time against the Mumbai Indians. Once again, the foundations were laid by their openers, David Warner and Shikhar Dhawan. They put on 85 from the first 10 overs before Warner fell two short of a half-century. Dhawan played through to remain unbeaten on 82, while Yuvraj provided the lethal finish with 39 off just 23 balls.
Hyderabad’s ploy to use just fast bowlers worked a treat yet again, as they bowled the Mumbai Indians out for 92 – the lowest total this season. Mustafizur Rahman continues to be a revelation with 3-16, but Man of the Match went to Ashish Nehra, who took 3-15 with some vital wickets upfront.