IPL 2019: Shubman Gill helps KKR smash KXIP and keep playoff hopes alive

Shubman Gill hit his 2nd successive fifty in the 2019 Indian Premier League as Kolkata Knight Riders defeated Kings XI Punjab by 7 wickets in Mohali on Friday. Chasing 184, Gill led the charge for KKR but Chris Lynn (46) and Andre Russell (24) also made crucial contributions.

Kolkata Knight Riders now have 12 points from 13 matches and have a very real chance of making it to the playoffs if they beat Mumbai Indians in the last league match of the 2019 Indian Premier League. KKR had won 4 out of their first 5 matches this season before losing 6 in a row.

KKR snapped their losing streak with a 34-run victory over Mumbai Indians and then beat KXIP in Mohali to register back-to-back wins.

Chris Lynn, who had set the tone for KKR’s 232 with a 29-ball 54 against MI, once again led the charge for his team with a 22-ball 46 against Kings XI Punjab Friday night. His knock was studded with 5 fours and 3 sixes and KKR had raced away to 62 for no loss in 5.5 overs before Andrew Tye removed Lynn off the last ball of the powerplay.

KKR did not look like a happy unit on the field but their batsmen were in a fiery mood. After Chris Lynn’s exit, while Shubman Gill took his time, Robin Uthappa walked out and smashed a 14-ball 22. Andre Russell, the most aggressive batsman in the 2019 Indian Premier League, hit 2 sixes and 2 fours in a 14-ball 24.

Russell’s blitz was ended by Mohammed Shami but by the time Dinesh Karthik joined Shubman Gill in the middle, KKR were on the cusp of victory.

Shubman Gill, many felt, was batting too low down the order. But he has impressed more often than not whenever he got the chance to open alongside Chris Lynn. After his classy 76 against a Mumbai Indians attack which included Lasith Malinga and Jasprit Bumrah, Gill turned his attention to KXIP’s star-studded bowling line-up.

Shubman Gill smashed 2 sixes and a 4 off KXIP captain and star India spinner R Ashwin to show his quality. Even as Chris Lynn, Robin Uthappa and Andre Russell departed, Gill kept his calm and took Kolkata Knight Riders to a memorable home.

Earlier in the evening, Kolkata Knight Riders captain Dinesh Karthik won the toss and asked Kings XI Punjab to bat in Mohali. Sandeep Warrier struck in successive overs to remove the dangerous KL Rahul (2) and Chris Gayle (14). With the KXIP openers back in the dug-out before the powerplay, KKR hoped to put further pressure on the hosts.

However, Nicholas Pooran led the fightback for Kings XI Punjab and KKR’s bowlers were suddenly looking listless. Experienced leg-spinner Piyush Chawla went for 14 in his first over and Dinesh Karthik had clearly had enough. He gathered his players around in the first timeout and reprimanded them in full public view as coach Jacques Kallis looked on.

Dinesh Karthik’s dressing-down seemed to have made the players a little gloomy. Andre Russell, Sunil Narine and Robin Uthappa looked far from happy as did the rest of the KKR camp as Pooran kept attacking their bowlers. He eventually fell to the part-time off spin of Nitish Rana while the dangerous looking Mayank Agarwal was run out thanks to a strong throw from Rinku Singh in the deep.

Just when it looked like KKR could restrict KXIP to a smaller total, Sam Curran walked out and smashed his maiden Indian Premier League fifty.

Sam Curran had picked a hat-trick against Delhi Capitals to win KXIP a thriller and against KKR in their penultimate match of the season, he showed why he is such a dangerous all-rounder.

Sam Curran hit 7 fours and 2 sixes to finish unbeaten on 55 off 24 balls as Kings XI Punjab reached 183 for 6 off 20 overs.

Also Read | IPL 2019: Dinesh Karthik gives KKR players public dressing-down in Mohali

Also Read | Shubman Gill is a prodigy and the next big thing in Indian cricket: Robin Uthappa


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