Without Raina, Gujarat Lions show no intent in defeat to RCB | ipl$gujarat-lions | Hindustan Times
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Without Raina, Gujarat Lions show no intent in defeat to RCB

There is still much to play for after the opponents plunder 248 in an IPL match. This being a league where teams have often missed out on playoff berths due to net run rate, Gujarat Lions could have settled for a big but respectable loss.

ipl Updated: May 15, 2016 12:51 IST
Somshuvra Laha
In the first IPL match that didn’t feature Suresh Raina, away for the birth of his child, Lions were completely outplayed.
In the first IPL match that didn’t feature Suresh Raina, away for the birth of his child, Lions were completely outplayed.(AFP)

There is still much to play for after the opponents plunder 248 in an IPL match. This being a league where teams have often missed out on playoff berths due to net run rate, Gujarat Lions could have settled for a big but respectable loss.

But a baffling strategy saw them slump to one of the heaviest losses of all time, by 144 runs. It’s never easy to pick up the pieces after getting a royal hiding. But the venue had not stopped being India’s smallest in the second innings; the pitch hadn’t changed much, and neither had Royal Challengers Bangalore’s bowling suddenly become threatening.

Different approaches

The key to chases like this is to not think of it as a chase. That was the difference between the approach of Gujarat Lions and Sunrisers Hyderabad in their match here just over a month ago. Despite being set an almost impossible 228-run target, Sunrisers had gone at their own pace to find themselves almost threatening RCB at one point.

Even if that was not possible here, Lions could have at least tried to bat out the 20 overs and take the score to a respectable mark so that they didn’t fall back by much in terms of net run rate.

It was instead an endless procession of batsmen. In the first IPL match that didn’t feature Suresh Raina, away for the birth of his child, Lions were completely outplayed. They could have minimised the damage though. With Brendon McCullum and Dwayne Smith as openers, they could have fancied a quick start, if not a steady one. Sending Ravindra Jadeja ahead of Aaron Finch made little sense but at least the all-rounder could have done some justice to the expectations by building on a great start.

Soft dismissal

But he offered the simplest of return catches to Chris Jordan. Even Dinesh Karthik donated his wicket when he should have tried to resurrect the middle order. In the process, Jordan raised his confidence several notches by taking four wickets. The lackadaisical approach of Lions allowed Kohli to have a go with the ball. Chris Gayle almost sneaked out a maiden.

Ironically, Finch --- considered one of the most attacking batsmen in modern cricket--- was the only one trying to play a sensible innings while the rest of the Gujarat Lions line-up went missing. Till this match began, both Sunrisers and Lions led the table with 14 points. Both have now lost to RCB here, but this loss could hurt Lions more than they might anticipate.