Shubman Gill and Dinesh Karthik starred with the bat in what turned out to be a routine victory for the Kolkata Knight Riders over the Chennai Super Kings, in a match played at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Thursday.
Chasing a total of 178, KKR made short work of things by scoring 180 for 4 and won with 14 balls to spare.
Shubman was the top scorer in the match. He finished with an unbeaten 57 from 36 balls. This is the under-19 starâ€™s maiden IPL half-century. Shubman was well supported by his captain Dinesh Karthik who played a breezy knock of 45 from just 18 deliveries. The pair put on an unbeaten partnership of 83 runs to guide their team to a comfortable victory.
Dinesh Karthik later praised Gill but emphasised that he does not over-hype the youngsterâ€™s performance and add on unnecessary pressure. He said, â€ś Credit to the management to have taken so many U-19 players. We were a little harsh on (Shubman) Gill earlier, but he's hit first-ball boundaries in the past too, so he's been good. Don't want to hype him up so he doesn't feel the added pressure, but he's special.â€ť
Despite the brilliance of both Dinesh Karthik and Shubman Gill, it was Sunil Narine who came away with the Man of the Match award for his valuable contributions with bat and ball. He first bowled a fantastic spell off 2 for 20 from his 4 overs which included just 4 runs conceded off the penultimate over of the Chennai innings. He followed it up with the bat by laying a solid platform for his teammates. He scored 32 runs from 19 balls before being caught by Dwayne Bravo off Ravindra Jadejaâ€™s bowling.
When asked about his all-around performance, he said,"I'll stick to my bowling, because that's what made me the cricketer I am. Happy to help with the bat. I play my shots with the bat, and the freedom is there from the management no matter what. DK (Dinesh Karthik) relies highly on spin, but it's a whole team effort. Enjoying my cricket. Good performances make it better.â€ť
After being put into bat, Chennai got off to a good start but failed to capitalise on a solid foundation set by the top order. Their innings saw 5 out of the 6 batsmen scoring above 20, but none of them went on to make a half-century. Skipper MS Dhoni was the top scorer for CSK with an undefeated 43.
Earlier, Ambati Rayudu scored 21 runs to help him regain the Orange Cap from Rishabh Pant. Rayudu takes his run tally for the tournament to 391, and now sits 15 points clear of Pant.
With this victory, KKR move up to the third spot on the IPL points table, while CSK drops to second owing to a lesser net run rate as compared with the Sunrisers Hyderabad.