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All-round KKR script first win of the season

Didn’t we tell you that our Knights were going to bring back smiles on our faces? Last night belonged to all the KKR supporters who believed in the team despite the disappointments of the opening match. Dinesh Karthik and his boys put out a brilliant all-round display to open their account in Dream XI IPL 2020 with a resounding 7-wicket win over Sunrisers Hyderabad. Shubman Gill was the man of the hour as he sparkled with a mature 70* off 62 balls to see his team safely over the line.

Chasing a below-par total of 143, it was business as usual for Sunil Narine and Gill to open the innings for KKR. Even though the chase wasn’t steep, Narine chose to press the attack mode right away, and as a result, fell for a duck while playing an unnecessary shot against Khaleel Ahmed. Gill, however, was impressive with his thoughtful strokeplay. He mostly focused on playing straight and once in a while targeted the square boundaries. Eoin Morgan pitched in with a brisk 29-ball 42* as well and treated us with some glimpses of his class.

“I think the ball wasn't spinning that much and it was easier to hit down the ground rather than playing square. I've practised a lot in the past couple of years, especially power hitting. My job was to be set in the middle and see the team through. I think it was really important for our team to get this win,” said Shubman after the match.

Shubman is barely 21 years old but the brain that sits on his shoulder is of an experienced cricketer. We have barely seen him itching to play big shots when the situation doesn’t demand it. Perhaps this is why we don’t see him throw his wicket away more often; and perhaps this why the KKR think tank considers him as a part of the leadership group.

Earlier, winning the toss and electing to bat first, Sunrisers Hyderabad looked completely aghast in front of the KKR bowling attack. We could see a few changes in KKR’s playing XI on Saturday, with Kamlesh Nagarkoti making his IPL debut and Varun Chakravarthy donning the Purple and Gold for the first time. Against Mumbai, KKR’s bowling attack looked lackadaisical, but on Saturday, the bowlers seemed to be on fire, especially Pat Cummins!

The Aussie started with the new ball in this match and troubled the top order with immaculate line, length and swing. Bairstow fell to one of his dreamy off-cutters early in the innings, while the dangerous David Warner struggled to even sneak regular singles off his bowling. Cummins ended up with 11 dot balls in his 4 overs with an economy rate of 4.75 RPO.

Varun Chakravarthy was another name that deserved a shoutout for his wonderful spell of 1/25. He not only conceded 9 dot balls, but also picked up the most crucial wicket of Warner (36 off 30) with an effortless return catch off his own bowling. Kolkata tried out 7 bowlers, and by the look of it, their strategy worked pretty well as the SRH batters never looked in a position to dominate the game. The only batsman for them who showed some resistance and aggression was Manish Pandey (51 off 38).

Following this win, KKR have gone up to the 5th position on the points table. They next play Rajasthan Royals in Dubai on September 30.