Kolkata: Gujarat Lions' (GL) Suresh Raina led from the front to guide his side to a comprehensive four-wicket win over high-flying Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) at the Eden Garden Stadium in Kolkata.
Batting first, KKR posted a challenging total of 188, courtesy Robin Uthappa's 77 off just 48 balls with the help of eight boundaries and two sixes to anchor the KKR innings after Narine (42 off 17 balls) played a short little cameo at the top to give his side a blazing start to their innings.
Chasing an 188-run target, Raina played a typical captain's knock with a blistering 46-ball 84-run knock to set the platform for the much-needed win for the Lions.
Coming on to bat at the no. 3 position, Raina took the attack to the opposition bowlers and decorated his innings with nine boundaries and four sixes to steer GL's chase.
He was ably supported by Brendon McCullum (33) and Aaron Finch (31) who stitched 42 runs off just 21 balls for the opening stand to get GL's chase off to a flier.
Down the order, Ravindra Jadeja remained unbeaten on 19 to finish off the proceedings for GL with a boundary in 18.2 overs.
Chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav (2/33) Nathan Coulter-Nile (2/41) picked up two wickets apiece for KKR.
Earlier, Robin Uthappa cracked a brilliant half-century while makeshift opener Sunil Narine struck a quickfire 47 at the top to guide KKR to 187 for five.
Narine's breezy knock was studded with nine boundaries and a huge hit over the fence.
Besides, skipper Gautam Gambhir made 33 off 28 balls while Manish Pandey (24) and Yusuf Pathan (11 not out) also contributed for the hosts.
For GL, skipper Suresh Raina (2/11) was the most economical bowler.
Here's how Twitter reacted to GL's win:
Powerful, superbly crafted knock by @ImRaina. Reminder to selectors, after being denied central contract, that his prowess hasnt waned
— Cricketwallah (@cricketwallah) April 21, 2017
— The Gujarat Lions (@TheGujaratLions) April 21, 2017
— IndianPremierLeague (@IPL) April 21, 2017
Raina has rewound the clock tonight...needed a captain's knock to get the campaign back on track. Pls play an extra bowler next time. Tx — Aakash Chopra (@cricketaakash) April 21, 2017