Dwayne Smith played with a dash of freedom to crunch a 39-ball 74, while Dinesh Karthik provided the finishing touches to the chase with an unbeaten innings of 35 to ensure Gujarat Lions overhauled the 190-run target set by Kings XI Punjab on Sunday (May 7).
Smith, who had notched up just 19 runs in his last six innings, said that he felt good after propelling his side to a well-earned victory in the Indian Premier League 2017. "It feels really good because I have had some very disappointing knocks coming into this game. But for me I am always positive to get a good score and [to] help the team win was really good," he was quoted as saying by IPL's official website.
David Miller dropped a sitter at mid-off to give Smith a reprieve in the sixth over. The West Indian all-rounder admitted that he had almost given up as he started walking back to the pavilion only for the South African to put down the chance. "Yes, I did [give up], because it went to Miller and he is one who usually catches them. So I was worried. When it went down I was very happy," he reckoned.
Karthik, Smith's teammate at GL, launched Varun Aaron for a six and a four in the penultimate over to calm down the nerves in the visitors' camp. Karthik pointed out that with 23 runs required off 11 balls, he had to take the risk.
"It was under pressure; we were needing a big hit at that time and when he bowled me a length ball I just wanted to go after [it] and luckily for me, it took the top-edge and went way over the 'keeper's head. That's not exactly where I wanted to go, but it was really good. At the end of the day it came to winning cause," he noted.
GL's chances of progressing to the playoffs came to an end after they slipped to a seven-wicket loss against Delhi Daredevils. However, Karthik said that they would look to win the remaining games and finish the tournament on a happy note.
"No matter what, even though we are out of the tournament, there is a lot of pride at play when you play these kind of games. When you watch it from outside, you might feel it is a more important game for Kings XI; but as players we still pride ourselves on every game we play. And it was important as an individual to win this game for us," he said.