Gill Keeps KKR In The Fight For The Playoffs > Cricket News, cricinfo, mobilecric, cricbuzz, livescore and more
Cricket news - Gill keeps KKR in contention for playoffs
Shubman Gill's father breaking into a bhangra dance told a story. His son had just gotten to a half-century, and done so at a ground where the magic of cricket started for them years back. The moment was also the anti-matter to Dinesh Karthik's outburst earlier in the match, when disappointed by his bowlers and perhaps cornered by the losses, he lost his cool in the team huddle. Both emotions, compensatory as they were, heralded a crucial seven-wicket win for Kolkata Knight Riders.
It wasn't a ticket to the playoffs for KKR - six straight losses don't afford you that luxury - but it keeps them alive, helping them breathe a little easier. It's still possible after all.
So are KXIP out of the playoff race?
Not yet. They remain second-last on the points table after this loss but if they manage to beat Chennai Super Kings in Mohali, they will get to 12 points and have an outside chance.
If DC beat RR, SRH lose to RCB, and both KKR and KXIP finish with one win each, all three sides will be tied on 12 points each and NRR will dictate who goes through. A poor NRR though doesn't bode well for KXIP.
What went right for KKR?
Shubman Gill and Chris Lynn. And the run-chase as a result. There were debates around who really should open for KKR in a game as crucial as this. Shouldn't Sunil Narine be back at the top to partner Lynn? But Gill it was, and for mighty good returns. The 19-year-old eased to a 36-ball fifty, oozing class and potential to eventually finish unbeaten on 65 off 49 balls. The highlight of his innings remained the two sixes and a boundary he hit off R Ashwin in an over.
To partner him in the powerplay was Lynn, who did what KKR designate Narine to do. He hit 5 sixes and 3 fours in 22-ball 46, giving the visitors the ideal launchpad while chasing 184.
Did the pitch get easier to bat?
Yes. It started sticky due to the overnight rain. KL Rahul found it when he perished to a knuckleball from Sandeep Warrier, who by the way also got Chris Gayle in his next over. Sam Curran showed towards the end how the dew played its part, cracking an unbeaten 55 off 24 balls. Harry Gurney conceded 22 of them in the last over of the innings, finding out the hard way how his slower balls were not as effective. Curran was lining him up, shuffling across and scoring runs off him all around.
How was Uthappa's comeback?
Technically, Robin Uthappa's comeback game was against the Mumbai Indians but he didn't get to bat then. So this game it was, where he came in at No. 3, scored 22 off 14 balls and allowed Gill to take his time. It was quite a contrast to his innings against the Royal Challengers Bangalore when he made 9 off 20 balls and lost his place in the side in the game after.
What could have KXIP done different?
Catch Andre Russell on 14 for starters. Mayank Agrawal dropped him at long-off, Andrew Tye being the bowler. Though it didn't hurt them much - Russell was out to Mohammed Shami in the next over - but moments like that pull the team down.
Powerplay was where they lost out. KKR were 62/1 after 6 overs, as compared to 41/2 for KXIP, and was perhaps the difference in the end. Arshdeep Singh bowled two overs for 24 runs; there wasn't a third over for Mohammed Shami, who pulled a muscle in his neck and walked off after his two-over spell. What hurt them further was the runs conceded by Murugan Ashwin, who normally reliable came against Uthappa looking to prove a point.
Where the teams go from here?
Punjab host CSK in Mohali on Sunday whereas Kolkata travel to the Wankhede Stadium to play Mumbai Indians.
Brief Scores: Kings XI Punjab 183/6 in 20 overs (Sam Curran 55*, Nicholas Pooran 48; Sandeep Warrier 2-31) lost to Kolkata Knight Riders 185/3 in 18 overs (Shubman Gill 65*, Chris Lynn 46) by 7 wickets.
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