Gill, Narine, Karthik star in dominant KKR win

Kolkata Knight Riders bowlers restricted Chennai Super Kings to a par score of 177, before an accomplished batting performance sealed the win with 14 balls to spare.

Dinesh Karthik's tactical decisions paid dividends against a strong CSK side which didn't play its best cricket on the night.   -  PTI

Eighteen-year-old Junior World Cup winner Shubman Gill showed glimpses of his potential when he guided Kolkata Knight Riders to a morale-boosting six-wicket victory over table topper Chennai Super Kings in an exciting Indian Premier League contest at the Eden Gardens here on Thursday night.

Shubman enthralled the packed house, equally divided in purple and yellow patches, with his poise and control as he scored a crucial knock of 36-ball 56 and contributed in a match-winning unbroken partnership of 83 runs off 36 deliveries with captain Dinesh Karthik, who scored a low-profile but effective 18-ball 45.

As it happened

KKR's fifth win, which was achieved with 14 balls to spare, propelled it to third spot.

KKR's chase did not have an ideal start as Chris Lynn and Robin Uthappa returned early. Sunil Narine, who was dropped by Ravindra Jadeja in consecutive deliveries of a disciplined K.M. Asif, notched up a characteristic 20-ball 32 before being dismissed by the left-arm spinner.

Young Gill started brilliantly, hitting Watson for three fours in an over, but displayed patience when KKR was four down for 97 in the 12th over. The Punjab batsman, who stitched 33 runs with Rinku Singh, batted with maturity to switch gear at the right time as CSK bowlers did not stick to the task.

Gill pulled and cut Asif to get three sixes in the 15th over and gathered two fours off Jadeja in the next to get his maiden half-century and keep KKR in the hunt.

 

Earlier, CSK had a flying start thanks to some clinical hammering by the accomplished opening duo of Shane Watson and Faf du Plessis.

CSK's run glut continued even after du Plessis was done in by a wrong-un from Chawla. Watson, who played his big shots with a straight bat, and Suresh Raina, who slapped Chawla and Andre Russell for two fours each on both sides, made merry as a pair.

However, KKR fought back in the middle overs as Sunil Narine and Kuldeep mixed precision with variety and Shivam Mavi performed impressively. Watson pulled Narine straight to mid-wicket boundary and Raina played Kuldeep to long-on in successive overs, resulting in CSK's slowdown.

CSK, which was at 121 for four, finally got some boost when M.S. Dhoni opened his arms in the 16th over.

Dhoni, who was let off by Gill on the square-leg boundary off Kuldeep on 29, chose the leg side to slog four sixes, including two in Johnson's last over, in his 25-ball unbeaten 43 and once again underscored his value as a finisher. He was the major contributor in his 54-run partnership with Jadeja.

It pleased the CSK skipper's die-hard fans, who had been chanting 'Dhoni, Dhoni' even before they entered the arena.