By Suhas Nayse – SJFI Member
YOUNG SHUBMAN GILL came up with an assured innings of 70 not out to pilot Kolkata Knight Riders to an easy 7-wicket victory against a listless Sunrisers Hyderabad tem in the Dream11 Indian Premier League at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.
The 21-year-old Gill cracked an unbeaten 70 off 62 balls to anchor the innings to perfection. The right-handed opener proved why he is rated so high by the experts as he hammered five fours and two sixes to help KKR open their account in their second outing in the 13th IPL.
Gill, who plays domestic cricket with Punjab, was involved in two solid partnerships. First he added 37 runs with Nitish Rana (26: 13 balls, 6×4) for the second wicket after Sunil Narine got out for a duck and then had an unbroken stand of 92 runs with Eoin Morgan as the two-time champions romped home with two overs to spare.
The English captain Morgan made a sensible 42 not out off 29 balls. The southpaw belted three fours and a couple of sixes to floor Sunrisers Hyderabad, who crashed to their second consecutive defeats.
Earlier, Manish Pandey struck a splendid half-century but couldn’t inspire his fellow batsmen as SRH were restricted to a modest total of 142 for 4. Contrary to the recent trend of captains opting to field first after winning the toss, Sunrisers Hyderabad skipper David Warner surprisingly decided to bat but his decision backfired. “We are going to bat. I don’t think too much is going to change throughout the course of this game,” said Warner after the toss.
The 2016 IPL champions could muster only 142 for 4 as they were grounded by KKR’s tight bowling and sharp fielding.
Only Pandey (51: 38 balls, 3×4, 2×6) and Warner (36: 30 balls, 2×4, 1×6) tried to push the run-rate up as others just caved in meekly. The SRH side was always under pressure once last match top-scorer Jonny Bairstow (5 off 10 balls) was bowled by Pat Cummings with a beauty of a delivery.
Pandey and Warner played well in patches but could not get those big overs from KKR. Varun Chakravarthy got his maiden IPL wicket as the tall Tamil Nadu spinner dismissed Warner just after the strategic break. Chakravarthy caught the Aussie opener in his follow-through.
Wriddhiman Saha (30: 31 balls, 1×4, 1×6) never looked like playing an IPL match. When the demand was to hit fours and sixes, he just could not deliver. SRH managed to score only 43 runs in the last five overs. Andre Russel, Cummins and Chakravarthy took a wicket each to contain the flow of runs.
Mohammad Nabi comes in for injured Mitchell Marsh, while Saha comes in for Vijay Shankar. On the other hand, KKR also made a couple of changes bringing in Nagarkoti and Varun.
Brief scores: Sunrisers Hyderabad 142 for 4 in 20 overs (Manish Pandey 51, David Warner 36, Wriddhiman Saha 30, Mohammad Nabi 11 not out; Andre Russel 1-16, Pat Cummins 1-19, Varun Chakravarthy 1-25) lost to Kolkata Knight Riders 145 for 3 in 18 overs (Shubman Gill 70 not out, Eoin Morgan 42 not out, Nitish Rana 26; Rashid Khan 1-25, T Natarajan 1-27, Khaleel Ahmed 1-28) by 7 wickets. Man-of-the-match: Shubman Gill (KKR).