Gill was circumspect at the start and played second fiddle to a rampaging Chris Lynn. Chasing Kings XI’s 183 for 6, KKR had raced to 62 for 1 at the end of the powerplay. Gill played the role of the anchor to perfection and was unbeaten on 15 on 14 deliveries. He hit a couple of boundaries but more importantly picked the singles to give Lynn more of the strike – the Australian facing 22 of the 36 balls of the partnership a testimony to this fact.
Gill continued to play the role of the anchor as Robin Uthappa came out and immediately took the attack to the Kings XI bowlers. The pair put 38 for the second-wicket with Gill contributing 16 off 13 deliveries. KKR crossed 100 in the 11th over and needed 82 to win from the final 9. Gill was unbeaten on 32 off 29 deliveries.
Gill finally broke lose in the 13th over – he danced down the wicket and lifted R Ashwin over long-on for a maximum before sweeping him over deep backward-square off the third delivery of the over for another six. It was all timing and elegance as he late cut the off-spinner for a boundary to register his fifty off just 36 deliveries. Gill had taken 17 off the over and got the required run rate down to just 8.
The rest of the chase was a formality as Andre Russell struck a few lusty blows to further get the required rate to almost a run a ball.
The Gill-Russell partnership of 50 in just 26 deliveries sealed the deal for KKR. Gill matched Russell shot for shot and contributed 22 of 12 (Russell 24 off 14).
Dinesh Karthik came out and produced a little cameo while Gill remained unbeaten on 65 off 49 deliveries, a knock which included 5 fours and 2 sixes, to take KKR to a comfortable seven-wicket win with two overs to spare.
It was a well measured innings by Gill showing great temperament and maturity in the chase – playing the role of the anchor for the most part before taking the initiative to take the match away from Kings XI.
Gill was in complete control in the middle as his Control Percentage of 90% indicates. His favourite shot was the flick which fetched him 20 runs and his most productive scoring area was the ‘Cow Corner’ where he scored 17 runs.
It was a wise decision by the KKR think-tank to open with Gill. He has scored 220 runs in 4 innings opening the innings for KKR at an average of 73.33 and strike rate of 149.66. All his three fifties this season have come as an opener.
In his remaining 8 innings which have seen him float from number 3 to number 7, Gill has scored a paltry 67 runs at an average of 13.4 and strike rate of 89.33.
Gill – the opener – could just turn out to be the masterstroke if KKR do make it to the playoffs.
First Published: May 4, 2019, 7:30 AM IST