Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) batsman Shubman Gill scored an unbeaten 57 in the 2018 Indian Premier League (IPL 2018) match against Chennai Super Kings (CSK) at Eden Gardens.(AFP)
Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) batsman Shubman Gill scored an unbeaten 57 in the 2018 Indian Premier League (IPL 2018) match against Chennai Super Kings (CSK) at Eden Gardens.(AFP)

IPL 2018: How Shubman Gill ruled Eden Gardens in KKR’s match vs Chennai Super Kings

Shubman Gill anchored Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) to a six-wicket win against Chennai Super Kings in their Indian Premier League (IPL 2018) match at Eden Gardens.
Hindustan Times, Kolkata | By Dhiman Sarkar
UPDATED ON MAY 04, 2018 09:43 AM IST

The aura around MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli -- and Sachin Tendulkar when he pulled on a Mumbai Indians’ shirt -- is such that it gets in the way of full-throated support for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR). But to have shut that out and then got the Eden Gardens to back him completely during the Indian Premier League (IPL 2018) match on Thursday should be an important step in the transition of Shubman Gill from being a boy wonder to a batsman ready for the big league. (KKR vs CSK Highlights)

When they spent a total of Rs 8 crore on India’s under-19 World Cup winners Gill, Shivam Mavi and Kamlesh Nagarkoti, many felt KKR had gambled their present for the future. At Rs 3.20 crore, Nagarkoti is the most expensive among the trio but injury took him out even before the fast bowler could get started. (KKR vs CSK scorecard)

Mavi’s debut too was fast-tracked after R Vinay Kumar went for 63 in 23 balls spread over two matches including one against Chennai Super Kings (CSK). Barring the last over against Delhi Daredevils away, Mavi looks settled in the team. Gill got his chance after Rinku Singh developed starting trouble and showed he had the poise and potential to play at this level. (IPL standings)

So it fit that after Gill anchored KKR to a six-wicket win against CSK in Kolkata on Thursday, skipper Dinesh Karthik would credit the management for reposing faith in these young players.

READ MORE | Loss vs KKR a slap in the face for Chennai Super Kings, says Stephen Fleming

A lost cause in New Delhi had Gill making 37 off 29 balls and adding 64 runs with Andre Russell for the sixth wicket. On Thursday, against the IPL’s highest winning team, Gill scored an unbeaten 57 in 36 balls with six fours and two sixes. A 33-run partnership in five overs with Singh steadied KKR’s reply after they were 64/3 in 6.4 overs.

“When the two youngsters were at the crease (Singh is 20), we looked at it as a time to put pressure… As Gill’s innings got on, he gained composure and played well. This was his first real opportunity and he played a big part in winning the match,” said CSK coach Stephen Fleming.

After Singh, Gill joined Karthik for a brisk, unbeaten 83-run fifth-wicket stand in six overs to seal the comprehensive win.

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Nitish Rana being out with injury meant Gill could come at No. 4 and build the innings. At No. 7 where he was slotted at the start, Gill was expected to begin in fifth gear which isn’t his game.

“I had said during the training camp here that he is a special talent and today he proved it,” said KKR’s leggie Piyush Chawla.

“With a player like Rana (he is 24) out, we needed someone who can craft the innings and today Gill did that,” said Chawla.

Days after the under-19 World Cup win in February, Sourav Ganguly had said the future looks bright for India. Two players Ganguly spoke of, Mavi and Gill, have showing again why the former India skipper is said to have a third eye for talent-spotting.

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