Shubman Gill scored his maiden T20 half-century and powered the Kolkata Knight Riders to a six-wicket win over table-toppers Chennai Super Kings on Thursday night. In Match 33 of VIVO IPL 2018, played at the Eden Gardens, KKR restricted CSK to 177-5 and then chased down the runs in 17.4 overs. The effect of this result: CSK slipped to number two, while KKR climbed one place to number three.
KKR’s run-chase was set up by a cameo from Sunil Narine, who rode his luck to make 32 from 20 balls. Young Gill then batted responsibly and in the company of his captain Dinesh Karthik, saw his team past the finish line; the fifth wicket pair added 83 runs in six overs to seal the chase. Gill remained unbeaten on 57 – made from 36 balls, while Karthik, who struck the winning boundary, finished with 45 against his name.
KKR were 56-2 in the powerplay, and kept their foot on the accelerator, adding 85-2 in the middle nine overs. 39 runs in the following 2.4 overs as the hosts cantered past the finish line. Chennai Super Kings were sloppy in the field and paid for the lack of discipline in their bowling. Ravindra Jadeja grassed two straightforward catches when Narine was still in single digits, and Ambati Rayudu put down Gill at deep point in the fifteenth over. The CSK bowlers were also guilty of bowling poor lines; apart from the seven wides bowled, there were several hit-me leg-stump balls.
Earlier in the evening, put into bat, CSK were provided a sound start by the opening pair of Shane Watson and Faf du Plessis, who added 48. The opening partnership was broken when du Plessis (27 from 15 balls) didn’t pick a googly from Piyush Chawla and was castled. Watson added 43 in the company of Suresh Raina for the second wicket, before both batsmen were dismissed in consecutive overs; Watson (36 for 25 balls) hit a short one straight down the throat of midwicket, while Raina’s slog-sweep landed in the hands of the boundary rider at long-on.
Ambati Rayudu made 21 before he lost his stumps to Sunil Narine in the fifteenth over. MS Dhoni then provided the flourish scoring 43 from 25 balls. CSK were 90-1 at the half-way stage, and could only add 87 runs in the back half - 56 of those in the final five overs to finish at 177-5. The visitors took full toll of Mitchell Johnson’s pace though, scoring 51 runs off the pacer’s four overs.
Stand out batting performance
Promoted to number four in the batting order, KKR’s Gill exhibited good temperament and that he had plenty of time to play his strokes. The 18-year old began with a flourish, hitting Watson for three boundaries early in his innings. He grew in confidence as he spent more time at the crease – which was evident from the way he opened up to play aerial shots later on; he drove over mid-off, pulled a KM Asif short delivery and deposited it into the stands at square-leg, and upper cut one later in the same over and deposited the ball over the point boundary. There was a calmness about Gill being at the crease, and his body language gave the impression he was pretty much at home – not affected one bit by a highly-rated opponent, the chants of the 62000 crowd or the pressure of a run-chase.
Dhoni’s 43 not out would be the top score in the CSK innings; the captain walked out to bat in the twelfth over and took a few deliveries to settle down. But when it was time to tee off, he hit them clean; he hit sixes off Shivam Mavi, Johnson and Kuldeep Yadav. Among the four sixes in his innings, the one hit that stood out was the flat hit over square-leg off Johnson in the 17th over. Dhoni, 4 off 9 at one stage, had zoomed to 29 off 19 balls when he was dropped by Shubman Gill on edge of the boundary and handed a bonus six. Dhoni didn’t get too much of the strike in the final two overs – he only faced four balls in the last two overs – and would eventually finish unbeaten on 43, made from 25 balls.
Notable Support Act – Batting
As has been the case with him right through his career, Karthik walked out with purpose and made batting look easy. The KKR skipper was quick on his feet and toyed with the bowler’s plans; he played the cut shot, sweep, reverse-sweep, hook, pull and flick, and collected all his boundaries (seven fours and a six) behind the stumps.
Narine opened his account with a six – a clean hit that sailed over long-on. He was then dropped twice in two deliveries, and made CSK pay for their largesse; he subsequently collected three boundaries off outside edges, and a six and a four through pull shots.
At the top of the CSK innings, Watson and du Plessis matched each other stroke for stroke and gave their team a sound platform. Du Plessis hit 4 fours and a six in his 15-ball 27, while Watson’s contribution to the opening stand was 21 from 16 balls. The Australian slowed down thereafter, and only added 15 runs from the next 9 balls he faced, before his eventual dismissal for 36 in the eleventh over.
Stand out bowling performance
Sunil Narine was KKR’s stand out bowler; the Trinidadian bowled one over in the powerplay, two overs in the middle, and finished off his spell by bowling the nineteenth over. Yet, he only conceded 20 runs, while also picking up the wickets of Watson and Ambati Rayudu (bowled).
Notable Support Act – Batting
Piyush Chawla bowled two overs in the powerplay – after which his figures read 2-0-17-1; he should have had the wicket of Raina in that spell too, but the wicket-keeper put down a difficult chance. The leg-spinner bowled one good over in the middle period, and returned to bowl the final over of the innings, in which he conceded 11 runs and dismissed Jadeja. Chawla bowled 12 dot balls, but conceded 7 boundaries, and finished with figures of 4-0-35-2.
Stat of the Match
Suresh Raina once again surpassed Virat Kohli to become IPL’s highest run-getter; Raina’s aggregate now stands at 4776 runs, 9 more than Kohli’s 4767.
Shubman Gill, aged 18 years and 237 days, would be the youngest Kolkata Knight Riders batsman to score an IPL half-century.
Chennai Super Kings 177-5 (Shane Watson 36, Faf du Plessis 27, Suresh Raina 31, MS Dhoni 43*, Sunil Narine 2-31) lost to
Kolkata Knight Riders 180-4 in 17.4 overs (Sunil Narine 32, Shubman Gill 57*, Dinesh Karthik 45*) by 6 wickets.
Man of the Match:
Sunil Narine, for his all-round performance (32 & 2-31).