Kolkata Knight Riders rode a fine 70 not out from Shubman Gill to score their first win in IPL 2020 on Saturday. Gill anchored KKR in a modest 143-run chase against Sunrisers Hyderabad in Abu Dhabi. The seven-wicket win for KKR came at the back of a defeat against Mumbai Indians.
Gill's knock that won him the Player of the Match title came off 62 balls with five fours and two sixes but the patience displayed by the 21-year-old was commendable.
KKR lost Sunil Narine in the second over for zero and SRH were very much in the game when Nitish Rana perished in the fifth over.
Narine, used as a pinch hitter, has been a flop as an opener so far in IPL 2020. He scored nine runs against Mumbai Indians but looked in discomfort against the rising ball.
Gill said playing Narine as an opener was a "team decision," but whether KKR will continue to opt for the West Indian spinner as Gill's partner remains to be seen.
"It's a team decision. As of now, I think we are sticking to Sunil Narine. In the past, he has really done a good job for us," Gill said.
Shubman Gill is one of the brightest prospects in Indian cricket and he showed that in Abu Dhabi on Saturday. His choice of strokes and the way he paced his innings was perfect for Twenty20 cricket.
"The plan was simple. I was there to get set and see my team through. Total wasn't that big. So it was important for me to stay there. As a batting unit, I think we all did well," said Gill.
More than the two points, KKR were relieved that their most expensive player made an impression. Australian pacer Pat Cummins, who looked out of sorts against Mumbai Indians, bowled a better line and length and finished with one for 19 in his four overs.
KKR paid a whopping 15.5 crores to the Australian who shared the new ball with Narine. Cummins got the big wicket of Jonny Bairstow as the SRH innings never really took off after that.
"One odd day doesn't mean much to us and he (Cummins) bowled really well in this game," Gill said. Earlier, KKR captain Dinesh Karthik had defended Cummins saying he would make a contribution in the tournament.
KKR play Rajasthan Royals next on September 30 in Dubai.
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