Lynn, Gambhir pulverise GL as KKR strolls to 10-wicket win

The opening batsmen set the record for the highest partnership ever for their team, overhauling a stiff target of 184 with five overs to spare.

Chris Lynn hit all eight sixes in Kolkata Knight Riders’ chase on Friday.   -  PTI

En route to reclaim the top spot in the list of all-time highest run-getters’ list in the Indian Premier League, Suresh Raina marked a return to competitive cricket by anchoring the Gujarat Lions innings. Dinesh Karthik gave it a nice finishing touch with a quickfire 47. But Chris Lynn and Gautam Gambhir surmounted the effort to set up a crushing win for Kolkata Knight Riders at the Saurashtra Cricket Association stadium.

Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Such was the onslaught of Lynn and Gambhir that the Knight Riders overhauled a stiff target of 184 with a whopping five overs to spare. Once the right- and left-handed combination succeeded in going after the seasoned pace duo of Praveen Kumar and Dhawal Kulkarni at the start of the chase, the rest of the bowlers – especially the spin duo of Shivil Kaushik and Shadab Jakati – offered too many freebies for an on-song pair.

Player of the match

On the way to a fitting start to its campaign – with co-owners Shahrukh Khan and Juhi Chawla present in the gallery – Lynn and Gambhir broke a plethora of records. Not only did Lynn raise the joint second-fastest fifty for KKR, in just 19 balls, but the duo also recorded the highest partnership ever for Knight Riders. The team's previous best association was Robin Uthappa and Manish Pandey's unbroken 153 versus Dolphins in Hyderabad during the 2014 Champions League Twenty20. Also, the Powerplay tally of 73 was the team's highest in the IPL. With Lions dropping a couple of catches in the outfield as Lynn cut loose towards the end, the match culminated in the highest-ever T20 chase with ten wickets to spare.

Blitzkrieg

Lynn, promoted to open the batting, was at his raucous best. His flat hits were mind-boggling, so were his straight hits down the ground. So consistent was the duo's big-hitting that Knight Riders crossed the three-figure mark in the eighth over, with the second fifty coming off just 17 balls. Kaushik bowled too short for his chinamen – in contrast to his Knight Riders counterpart Kuldeep Yadav – only to see Gambhir toy with his bowling. Lynn then took on Dwayne Smith's dibbly-dobblies to force Lions to repent its decision to prefer Smith over all-rounder James Faulkner.

With the target appearing closer, Gambhir's three boundaries off Manpreet Gony helped the captain overtake Lynn for a while. But Lynn's final barrage against Kulkarni meant he remained unbeaten with just seven runs shy of a hundred.

The duo's carnage meant that the Rajkot crowd returned home with little to remember about Lions' batting essay earlier in the night. While Brendon McCullum started off in his trademark aggressive manner, the spin duo of Kuldeep and Piyush Chawla put the brakes on the Lions in the middle overs before Karthik and Raina flourished in the death overs.