Knight Riders vs Kings XI, Talking Points: Gill’s composure triumphs over Curran’s mental dominance
Shubman Gill's composed knock was enough to overshadow Sam Curran's brutal innings. (BCCI Image)

Friday night’s clash between Kings XI Punjab and Kolkata Knight Riders saw as many as three youngsters rise to the occasion. Nicholas Pooran‘s attacking innings, coupled with Sam Curran‘s intelligent 24-ball 55 led KXIP to a strong 183 for 6, but it was trumped by Shubman Gill‘s composed knock, which saw KKR through by seven wickets and knock KXIP out of contention for a place in the Playoffs. Here are a few talking points which led to the outcome of the match.

Warrier stifles Kings XI with double strike

Sandeep Warrier went wicketless in his IPL debut against Mumbai Indians even though he finished with a decent economy rate of just over seven. On Friday however, Warrier upped his performance by a notch and claimed 2 for 31 in only his second IPL match. What makes this crucial is that both his wickets came up front, and were that of openers KL Rahul and Chris Gayle, who have formed a major chunk of KXIP’s success this season due to their blistering starts. Warrier bowled a tight spell, clocking regularly in excess of 140 km/h and foxed Rahul with the knuckle ball for his first wicket as the batsman miscued a chip. In his next over, Warrier scalped the big wicket of Gayle with a back of a length delivery which the batsman hit straight to Gill at deep square leg.

Pooran’s counter attack

With the openers gone, Pooran and Mayank Agarwal brought KXIP back with a 69-run stand for the third wicket. Pooran took over as the aggressor and muscled a 27-ball 48, half of which came in sixes to out KXIP on top. I was almost a counter-attack of sorts as Pooran showed glimpses of his bit-hitting prowess, which revived KXIP. But his failure to convert his start into something a little more significant hurt KXIP and his dismissal allowed KKR a chance to claw back into the match.

Curran’s bullish knock

Now the current IPL season has witnessed many amazing knocks, so the fact that we are calling Sam Curran’s knock right up there with the best seen this year probably tells you how wonderful, unique and impactful his innings was. The way Curran batted would have made many top order batsmen. He always seemed one step ahead of the bowler he was facing. He scooped, used his legs and pierced rather ridiculous gaps. If that wasn’t a testament to his batting skills, what he did to Harry Gurney in the final over of the innings will. The left-armer was taken for 22 runs, Curran providing a final flourish to finish with an unbeaten 24-ball 55 to lift KXIP to 183 for 6.

Lynnsanity comes to Mohali

With four half-centuries in the last seven innings, Chris Lynn’s fine form is something the franchise must have yearned for after their slump midway through the season. The Australia batsman looked set for a fifth fifty this year but missed it by four runs. However, Lynn did his job en route to scoring those 46 quick runs which came off just 22 balls. With no Sunil Narine to partner him at the top, Lynn had the liberty to bat like a pinch-hitter and pummelled five fours and three sixes to have his strike rate read in excess of 200. Result: KKR had stormed to 62 without loss after the Powerplay.

Punjab’s Gill downs KXIP

Gill showed maturity beyond his age and anchored the chase. He controlled the game throughout and without any risk managed a strike rate of 120 plus throughout. Despite losing Lynn, Robin Uthappa and Andre Russell, Gil was unflustered and showed good account of himself with a level head. When Lynn was looking murderous, Gill was happy biding his time to reach 34 off 31. But once Lynn fell, Gill decided to tuck into the bowlers and the man he targeted was none other than the KXIP skipper, R Ashwin. The offspinner was greeted with two sixes off the first three balls of his spell. With a late cut, Gill brought up his third half-century of the season. With a required rate not too challenging, Gill saw KKR through and rightly bagged the Player of the Match award and knocked KXIP out of the Playoff race.