A magnificent effort with the ball followed by a measured run-chase saw Kolkata register an easy seven-wicket victory over Hyderabad at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in UAE.
Here the key talking points from the contest:
Gill’s the man
On a pitch that suited the slower bowlers, KOL needed someone to dig deep and bat to the end and chase down the rather modest total of 143. Up stepped youngster Shubman Gill and batted with immense poise and composure and scored 70 off 62 balls, guiding KOL to a much-needed victory. The young opener was named Man of the Match for his stellar performance with the bat.
Top order too tentative for Hyderabad?
Despite losing just four wickets, Hyderabad scored just 142 in their 20 overs. Their top order of English opener Jonny Bairstow, captain David Warner and batsman Manish Pandey played 78 balls and scored just 92 runs, at a strike rate of just 117.94. Perhaps the cautious approach stems from the repeated collapses from the middle order like in the previous match, which have forced Warner, Bairstow and Pandey to bide their time and play as deep into the innings as possible.
Cummins comes good
After a disastrous debut against Mumbai that saw him concede 49 runs in just three overs with no wickets, Pat Cummins returned with a vengeance and bowled a terrific spell that was key to KOL's first win of the season. The Australian speedster gave away just 19 runs in his quota of four overs and picked up the prized wicket of the in-form Jonny Bairstow. Cummins also ran out Wriddhiman Saha, proving his value as a fielder to the team.
Is the Narine party over?
Admittedly, the move to promote Sunil Narine up the order in 2017 worked wonders for KOL as the all-rounder smashed close to 500 runs as a top-order batsman over the next two seasons. But the numbers do not do justice his inclusion anymore. In his last 30 outings with the bat, Narine has scored just two fifties and has 25 in just 10 of those 30 matches. Teams have found a weakness in Narine’s batting ability and he’s certainly no longer that threat that he once was with the bat.
Feature image courtesy: Twitter.com / Indian T20 League