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IPL 2017: Lynn on song as Kolkata rout Gujarat Lions by 10 wickets

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Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) toyed with the toothless Gujarat Lions bowling attack to script a facile 10-wicket victory riding batting heroics of skipper Gautam Gambhir and Australian Chris Lynn in their opening Indian Premier League (IPL) match in Rajkot on Friday.

Gambhir (76 off 48) and Lynn (93 off 41) did not let the cheerleaders rest from the word go chasing down 184 to win after the Lions had posted 183/4 having being asked to bat first. The unbroken opening stand of 184 between the pair became the highest in IPL history for the first wicket, overcoming the 167-run partnership between Chris Gayle and Tillakaratne Dilshan for Royal Challengers Bangalore against Pune Warriors.

Sans Dwayne Bravo and Ravindra Jadeja, the home side's inexperience in the bowling department was laid bare as the opening pair recorded their fastest 100-run opening partnership, coming off just 46 balls. This was also KKR's highest opening wicket association, surpassing the previous best of 121 runs involving Gambhir and Robin Uthappa.

KKR got off to a flying start at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium with both Lynn and Gambhir taking the opposition bowlers to the cleaners. Lynn's pyrotechnics saw the Australian bring up his half century in just 19 balls laced with four boundaries and five sixes. The Australian used his raw power to clobber the likes of Dwayne Smith whom he took 23 runs off one over.

At the other end, Gambhir milked rookie chinaman Shivil Kaushik for 23 runs in 13 deliveries. Dhawal Kulkarni was given a severe roasting, conceding 42 runs off his 2.5 overs.

The way both batsmen paced their innings was a study in contrast. Gambhir did not hit a six in his whole innings, preferring grounded shots (12 fours) and the leg side more. Lynn, however, smoked eight sixes and six fours, mostly taking the aerial route and using his power to send the ball to all parts of the park.

Earlier, skipper Suresh Raina led from the front with a half century while Dinesh Karthik added the fireworks later on as the Lions posted 183/4 in 20 overs. Raina (68 not out off 51) was dropped twice during his stay, with the veteran of the shortest format of cricket making the most of his lives to notch up his 29th fifty in the IPL.

Raina also surpassed India and Royal Challengers Bangalore captain Virat Kohli as the highest run getter in the T20 league.

Karthik continued his purple patch with the bat with a well paced 47 off 25 balls where the Tamil Nadu batsman spanked medium pacer Chris Woakes in the penultimate over as the Englishman had a forgettable debut. The partnership between the pair for the fourth wicket was 87 runs.

After having kept things tight initially, KKR leaked 54 runs in the last 4 overs at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium.

Left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav returned best figures of 2/25 in his four overs for the visitors. However, the youngster missed a glorious chance to break the partnership between Karthik and Raina enduring a brain freeze as he failed to throw the ball at the stumps with the batsman well short of his crease and wicketkeeper Robin Uthappa yelling at him.

Put into bat first, Gujarat Lions lost Jason Roy early on. Trying to pull Piyush Chawla, the England opener holed out to Yusuf Pathan at square leg with the ball taking the leading edge. There was no stopping fellow opening batsman Brendon McCullum at the other end though as skipper Raina joined him at the crease. The big hitting New Zealand batsman took a liking to Sunil Narine, hitting West Indian for three fours in his first two overs.

At the other end, Raina - just out of BCCI a contract - spoiled Chris Woakes' debut for Kolkata, taking the England pacer for 18 runs. The hosts, who finished top of the league table last year, reached 50 inside the Powerplay with Raina dropped by Kuldeep in the sixth over off Woakes.

The chinaman spinner, who recently returned first innings figures of 4/68 for India in the fourth Test against Australia, made amends soon though, taking the wicket of McCullum (35 off 24) who was plumb in front from a straight one. Aaron Finch (15 off 8) did not last long, Kuldeep getting his second scalp inside two overs with a tossed-up googly that the Australian tried to tonk for a maximum but fell to Surya Kumar Yadav at wide long on.

Raina rode his luck in the middle, taking the aerial route more often than not and the ball somehow never finding a fielder underneath it. The southpaw brought up his half century with an on drive, soon to be grassed for the second time in the innings by Pathan off Chawla.

Raina's innings though was not enough to help Gujarat to victory as KKR chased down the target inside 15 overs, thus giving their net run rate a major boost, a potentially crucial element later in the summer.

Teams:

Kolkata Knight Riders: Gautam Gambhir (Captain), Robin Uthappa (WK), Manish Pandey, Chris Lynn, Yusuf Pathan, Suryakumar Yadav, Chris Woakes, Piyush Chawla, Kuldeep Yadav, Sunil Narine, Trent Boult.

Gujarat Lions: Brendon McCullum, Dwayne Smith, Jason Roy, Suresh Raina (Captain), Aaron Finch, Dinesh Karthik (WK), Manpreet Gony, Praveen Kumar, Shadab Jakati, Dhawal Kulkarni, Shivil Koushik.

Gujarat

Jason Roy c Pathan b Chawla 14

Brendon McCullum lbw Kuldeep Yadav 35

Suresh Raina not out 68

Aaron Finch c Yadav b Kuldeep Yadav 15

Dinesh Karthik c Yadav b Boult 47

Extras (lb 2, w 2) 4

Total (4 wickets; 20 overs) 183

Fall of wickets: 1-22 (Roy, 3.1 overs), 2-72 (McCullum, 8.1), 3-92 (Finch, 10.2), 4-179 (Karthik, 19.5).

Bowling

Trent Boult 4-0-40-1

Piyush Chawla 4-0-33-1

Sunil Narine 4-0-33-0

Chris Woakes 3-0-35-0

Kuldeep Yadav 4-0-25-2

Yusuf Pathan 1-0-15-0

Kolkata

G Gambhir not out 76

C Lynn not out 93

Extras (b 4, w 11) 15

Total (0 wickets; 14.5 overs) 184

Bowling

P Kumar 2-0-13-0

D Kulkarni 2.5-0-42-0

M Gony 2-0-32-0

S Kaushik 4-0-40-0

D Smith 1-0-23-0

S Jakati 3-0-30-0