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Suresh Raina calls for bowling improvement from Gujarat Lions in IPL 2017 T20

Suresh Raina led from the front with a sublime half-century as Gujarat Lions returned to winning ways in IPL 2017 with a comprehensive four-wicket away win over leaders Kolkata Knight Riders at the Eden Gardens

ipl 2017 Updated: Apr 22, 2017 10:54 IST
IPL 2017,.Suresh Raina,Gujarat Lions
Gujarat Lions captain Suresh Raina (L) reacts as Kolkata Knight Riders cricketer Sunil Narine walks back to the pavilion after his dismissal during their 2017 Indian Premier League (IPL) T20 match at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Friday.(AFP)

Back to winning ways riding on its power-packed batting unit, Gujarat Lions captain Suresh Raina today said the team needs to work on its inexperienced bowling department to be a force to reckon with in the ongoing Indian Premier League. (IPL 2017 FULL COVERAGE)

Raina led from the front with a sublime half-century as laggards Gujarat Lions returned to winning ways with a comprehensive four-wicket away win over leaders Kolkata Knight Riders at the Eden Gardens on Saturday.

Chasing a challenging 188-run target after opting to bowl, Gujarat Lions were off to a brisk start, thanks to Aaron Finch (31 off 15 balls; 4x2s, 2x6s) and Brendon McCullum (33 off 17; 5x4s, 1x6) who stitched a quickfire 42-run opening stand that came off just 21 balls.

“It was an important game for us and we bowled pretty well (towards the end). We came back pretty strongly.

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“I think the batting looks good, but we can still improve on our bowling. We have been giving away lots of runs in the first six overs. If we are looking to finish on top, we need to minimise our mistakes,” Raina said at the post-match press conference.

Raina praised his colleagues and said it was team effort that sealed the easy win for the visitors in the crucial match.

“Then, me, Baz (Brendon McCullum) and Jaddu (Ravindra Jadeja) had a good partnership. It was important to play proper cricketing shots, there was no need to play cross- batted shots,” he said.

“Basil (Thampi) is a very good prospect for Gujarat. (James) Faulkner was also great, got Gautam Gambhir out. Overall, it was a great team effort. It was important for me to be out there and keep calm when wickets fell,” concluded Raina, who was declared the man-of-the-match for his brilliant knock.

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Kolkata Knight Riders skipper Gautam Gambhir said the explosive start by Aaron Finch and McCullum made life easier for Gujarat Lions middle-order to chase down the target with consummate ease.

“I thought we batted really well, bu they are a dangerous side. I thought the total was enough, especially with the attack we have, but the way Finchy and McCullum batted, they removed the entire pressure from the middle order,” Gambhir said.

“The wicket was still a bit sticky in the first innings, but Lions are a batting-heavy side.

“We still have a lot of positives to take from the match. We need to give credit to the opposition at times,” he said.

First Published: Apr 22, 2017 10:52 IST