Gautam Gambhir continued his magnificent form as his unbeaten 72 off 49 balls helped Kolkata Knight Riders to an eight-wicket win over Kings XI Punjab in the 2017 Indian Premier League clash at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Thursday. (IPL 2017 full coverage)
However, what was noticeable was Gambhir’s out-of-the-box captaincy and his move to promote West Indies’ Sunil Narine as an opener paid off brilliantly. Both shared a partnership of 76 in just 34 balls, the highest-ever for Kolkata Knight Riders in the powerplay and this stand laid the platform for their win. Narine’s contribution was 37 off 18 balls, including four boundaries and three sixes.
Speaking after the end of the match, Gambhir said that he enjoyed Narine’s batting and said he needed to learn from him as to how he can be aggressive. “Some of the batters should be proud of the way Narine played. I need to take tips as to how to hit sixes. It takes a lot of pressure off my shoulders. I can keep rotating the strike and play as long as possible, knowing that someone would go hard each and every delivery at the other end.”
When asked whether the experiment with Narine as an opener would continue, Gambhir said that if he achieves success consistently, then he would definitely continue with this move. “It lengthens the batting order. It gives us the freedom to go as hard and as he can. We have 8-9 batsmen who are aggressive players.
Narine said watching Gambhir bat at the other end gave him immense confidence to go for the big shots. “Watching Gambhir bat gives you confidence and it makes you feel that the wicket is not doing much. He is one of the top run-getters for KKR and this win was a total team effort,” Narine said.
Kolkata Knight Riders’ next match will be against defending champions Sunrisers Hyderabad on Saturday at the Eden Gardens.