Gill keeps Kolkata in contention
Updated 03-05-19 | 17:50 PM | Dave Staff Sport Writer
Batsman Shubman Gill carried the Kolkata Knight Riders to a seven-wicket victory over the Kings XI Punjab in Friday’s Indian Premier League fixture at the IS Bindra Stadium in Mohali, Chandigarh.
The result pushed Kolkata from sixth to fifth position in the 2019 tournament’s eight-team standings. Punjab remained seventh. Both are still in contention for a berth in the play-offs alongside the Chennai Super Kings, Delhi Capitals and Mumbai Indians. The Sunrisers Hyderabad and Rajasthan Royals are also in the running, while the Royal Challengers Bangalore have been ruled out.
Chasing a 184-run target, Kolkata enjoyed early impetus from Australian Chris Lynn, whose 46 from 22 deliveries featured a quintet of fours and trio of sixes. Lynn was aggressive against a bowling attack lead by Indian test seamer Mohammed Shami and the recalled Andrew Tye. The hard-hitting right-hander eventually holed out to Tye, but the foundation was set for Gill and West Indian Andre Russell to build.
The pair obliged, with Russell marking a 300th T20 appearance with a characteristically attacking 24 from 14. Captain Dinesh Karthik was later at hand to seal triumph with a dozen deliveries to spare alongside Gill, who ended with 65 not out from 49.
Earlier, England recruit Sam Curran’s cameo capped the Kings XI Punjab’s final total of 183 for six after Karthik had won the toss and opted to bowl first.
Curran survived a dropped catch from long-on fielder Rinku Singh to finish with 55 not out from 24. His contribution effectively capitalised on a solid middle-order effort from West Indian Nicholas Pooran and company. Pooran struck a quartet of sixes en route to 48 from 27.
His and Curran’s stays were particularly important, after openers Chris Gayle and Lokesh Rahul fell relatively early. Both were flummoxed by slower deliveries from seamer Sandeep Warrier. The dismissals were the first of Warrier’s 2019 IPL campaign.
The left-handed Curran, picked ahead of Proteas batsman David Miller, deployed deft shot selection and acute stroke play throughout. The final over, especially, showcased his skills amid fellow Englishman Harry Gurney’s expense.
Saturday will see the Capitals host Rajasthan at the Feroz Shah Kotla – and Hyderabad visit the Royal Challengers in Bengaluru.
KINGS XI PUNJAB: Lokesh Rahul, Chris Gayle, Mayank Agarwal, Nicholas Pooran, Simran Singh (wicketkeeper), Sam Curran, Ravichandran Ashwin (captain), Murugan Ashwin, Andrew Tye, Mohammed Shami, Arshdeep Singh. KNIGHT RIDERS: Chris Lynn, Shubman Gill, Robin Uthappa, Nitish Rana, Dinesh Karthik (captain, wicketkeeper), Andre Russell, Rinku Singh, Sunil Narine, Piyush Chawla, Harry Gurney, Sandeep Warrier.