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Friday, Oct 18, 2019

Prithvi Shaw, Shubman Gill in focus as Delhi Capitals take on Kolkata Knight Riders

This time last year, Prithvi Shaw and Shubman Gill were teenager millionaires who had shared the journey to the summit of an under-19 World Cup.

cricket Updated: Apr 12, 2019 15:39 IST
Dhiman Sarkar
Dhiman Sarkar
Delhi Capitals' Prithvi Shaw in action.
Delhi Capitals' Prithvi Shaw in action.(AP)

From being potential performers in a premier league, Prithvi Shaw and Shubman Gill have become players Delhi Capitals (DC) and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) usually pencil in first.

This time last year, Shaw and Gill were teenager millionaires who had shared the journey to the summit of an under-19 World Cup. Shaw was India captain and Gill his deputy with four scores over 50, including a century against Pakistan in the semi-final. They were last century’s boys primed to explode with the bat in this; top-order artistes whose IPL journey had not yet begun.

Gill started his on April 14 against Sunrisers Hyderabad, making three. Shaw began nine days later with a 10-ball 22. On April 27, they came face-to-face in Delhi. Having replaced Gautam Gambhir, Shaw made a 44-ball 62, his first IPL half-century. KKR’s reply was a shambles but Gill made 37 off 29 balls and shared a 64-run stand sixth-wicket stand with Andre Russell.

One of the biggest advantages of IPL is that it teaches you to deal with pressure, said KKR’s academy head coach Abhishek Nayar. Gill and Shaw showed they had it in them by the time they were five and two matches old.

“We took a bit of a punt on him in last year’s auction as a young guy that hadn’t played any T20 cricket. From the moment I saw him at trials, you just saw he was ready to play. He has shown glimpses of his brilliance so far in this tournament,” said DC coach Ricky Ponting on Shaw on Thursday.

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“He’s developing every day and if he keeps improving, I’m sure he’ll be one of the leading run scorers come end of this tournament.”

Ponting said Shaw was why DC won in Bengaluru and that he deserved a century against KKR this term, the opener having fallen on 99.

Another cricket great spoke glowingly of Gill. “He is one of the best youngsters India has, in terms of overall cricketing skill. He is batting for us in a spot which is tough but he is learning and will get his opportunity to move up the order,” said KKR head coach Jacques Kallis.

He said Gill’s batting at the death in IPL will help him improve. “It takes a certain type of person and character to bat down there. When you are batting at Number 3 you don’t quite have that same amount of pressure. The way he has held it together, the way he has gone about his business, has really impressed me.”

Gill failed in Chennai, foxed by an Imran Tahir googly drifting down leg, and hasn’t needed to do much barring two sixes that sealed the deal against Sunrisers Hyderabad. Of Shaw’s 169 runs so far, 127 have come in two games meaning he too hasn’t really fired. So, both will be hoping for a good Friday when DC play KKR at Eden Gardens.

Gill and Shaw could add to the drama of a tie whose interest is peaking because of a Super Over finish, the prospect of Andre Russell facing Kagiso Rabada – Ponting said DC could play Ishant Sharma, Trent Boult and Chris Morris too on a wicket that aids fast bowlers – and because Sourav Ganguly is in the away team’s dug-out.

First Published: Apr 12, 2019 15:39 IST

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