Dinesh Karthik led the way with a fluent half-century while Praveen Kumar produced a superb spell with the ball as Gujarat Lions snapped their three-match losing streak to reclaim the top spot with a comfortable five-wicket win over Kolkata Knight Riders, in the Indian Premier League match, in Kolkata, on Sunday.
After being put into bat, KKR recovered from a horror start to post a healthy 158 for four courtesy of half-centuries from Yusuf Pathan and Shakib Al Hasan. Karthik led the way with the bat for Gujarat as he smashed 51 from 20 balls as the visitors completed an easy five-wicket victory with 12 balls to spare
Chasing 159 on a slow Eden Gardens surface, the duo of Dwayne Smith (27) and Brendon McCullum (29) handed Lions a perfect launchpad with 42 from 5.3 overs.
The duo fell in space of 15 runs when Shakib Al Hasan and Piyush Chawala took one each but it was sheer elegance from wicketkeeper batsman Karthik who slammed a 29-ball 51 that had eight fours and a six to set up the chase.
After Karthik was stumped, Aaron Finch's hit 29 from 10 balls, laced with three fours and two sixes, before being run out. Ravindra Jadeja sealed the chase with two overs to spare as he launched a six over long-on.
The Lions returned to winning ways after a hat-trick of defeats as they jumped to the top of the table with 14 points from 11 matches, while KKR were pushed to the third behind Sunrisers Hyderabad on net run rate.
Karthik was positive right from the start and found himself in the zone starting off with three classy boundaries against Brad Hogg.
First he reverse swept Hogg to thirdman, then guided with the spinner to long on and displayed a fine flick off the wrist for a third boundary.
Raina, on the other hand, looked ordinary before getting dismissed to another short ball when he was caught by Hogg but it did not matter as Finch's late assault dashed all KKR's hopes.
McCullum found himself lucky to be adjudged not out when he took an outside edge from Andre Russell in the first over but he survived to open his account and give their chase the fillip with equally devastating Dwayne Smith.
With spin on in the third over, Smith and McCullum unsettled Shakib's rhythm by hitting the left-arm spinner for three boundaries as Lions were off to a brisk start.
Smith slammed Shakib over square leg in his next over but only to be foxed by a slower one in the next ball as KKR got their first breakthrough. Suresh Raina struggled as he made a sedate 14 but Karthik's positive innings put Gujarat in the driver's seat and they completed an easy win, their first after three straight losses.
Earlier, Yusuf Pathan and Shakib Al Hasan hit fighting fifties in a record partnership to lift Kolkata Knight Riders to a competitive 158 for four after a disastrous start.
Hosts KKR were stuttering at 24 for four inside the first six overs of Powerplay courtesy of some splendid seam bowling display by Praveen Kumar and Dhawal Kulkarni before Pathan and Shakib put on a record unbroken partnership of 134 runs to stage a remarkable recovery and also register the highest fifth-wicket stand in IPL history.
Shakib struck a 49-ball 66 with four sixes and as many fours while Pathan came up with a 41-ball 63 that had seven shots to fence and one over the ropes.
On a day when their successful opening duo of Robin Uthappa (14) and Gautam Gambhir (5) failed, Pathan and Shakib came to team's rescue as the Gujarat Lions failed to make any further inroad.
Lions had bolstered their spin line-up by bringing leg-spinner Pravin Tambe to bowl alongside Ravindra Jadeja and Shivil Kaushik but the trio failed to make any impact on the Eden wicket.
Praveen took two wickets in three balls to reduce KKR to 15 for two in the third over before Dhawal Kularni made it 21 for three in the next over.
Praveen had a dream start and also bowled a maiden to Suryakumar Yadav for a fine spell of 3-1-7-2 to make things worse for KKR.
In the next over, Yadav tried to break free to guide the ball from Dwayne Smith over Raina at the slip but the the left-handed skipper took a stunning catch jumping high in the air and plucked the ball with his right hand to make it four-down for the Knights inside the Powerplay.
The hosts nearly lost another wicket but Pravin Tambe dropped Shakib, then on three, at the third man boundary.
Lions introduced spin in the 10th over bringing in Shivil Kaushik and things started to look bright with Pathan taking charge against the chinaman bowler with a smack over his head for a six and followed it up with a boundary.
With Pathan taking charge, Shakib did well to rotate the strike as the duo scripted an amazing recovery as KKR smashed quick runs in the final overs to post a healthy total.