A wonderful half-century from Shubman Gill and a combined bowling effort handed the Kolkata Knight Riders a valuable six-wicket victory over the Sunrisers Hyderabad in a crucial Indian Premier League victory at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium in Dubai on Sunday.
Gill cracked 57 from 51 balls to help his side reach 119 for four with two balls to spare in reply to the Sunrisers’ 115 for eight after Kane Williamson had won the toss and elected to bat first.
The Sunrisers had struggled to make an impact with the bat, with only Williamson (26), Priyma Garg (21) and Abdul Samad (25) making any impact on the scorecard. The Kolkata bowlers, inspired by Sunil Narine (4-0-12-0) and Shakib Al Hasan (4-0-20-1) really made life difficult for the Hyderabad side.
In reply, Gill cracked 10 boundaries in a measured innings to guide his side to victory but it was not an easy victory as Williamson’s bowlers really made life difficult in what should have been an easy chase.
Williamson had won the toss and decided to bat first but the decision looked to backfire as Tim Southee (4-0-26-2) had Wriddhiman Saha trapped in front with the second ball of the innings for a first ball duck. Southee was involved again shortly thereafter, taking a catch at mid-on to dismiss Jason Roy (10) from the bowling of Shivam Mavi (4-0-29-2).
Williamson looked to get the measure of what seemed a difficult wicket, taking 18 runs of Mavi’s third over, which included four boundaries but perished due to some brilliant fielding off his own bowling by Shakib. Williamson had dropped a ball on the leg side but Shakib chased after it, turned and threw the stumpd down at the non-strikers end to leave Williamson just short of his crease.
Garg, having struck just one six from 31 balls, was caught on the legside fence by Ragul Tripathi from the bowling of Varun Chakravarthy (4-0-26-2) while Samad was caught at long-on by Gill from a Southee delivery after striking three sixes.
Abhishek Sharma (6), Jason Holder (2) and Rashid Khan (8) failed to make an impression which left the Sunrisers some 50 runs short of a par score.
But credit must go to the Sunrisers’ bowlers who made the chase as difficult as possible. Holder (4-0-32-2) removed the dangerous Venkatesh Iyer (8), caught by Williamson after top-edging a ball before Khan (4-0-23-1) had Tripathi caught at short mid-wicket by Sharma for just seven.
Nitish Rana (25) struggled to get the ball off the square but Gill kept his composure, driving and pulling the ball when needed, facing 51 balls before being caught on the long-on boundary by Holder from the bowling of Siddarth Kaul (3.4-0-17-1).
However, Dinesh Karthik, who cracked his first ball for a gorgeous off-drive for four, ended unbeaten on 18 from 12 balls including three boundaries to see his side over the line and to keep the Kolkata Knight Riders in contention for a play-off place.