Shubman, younger pacers to the fore

Dubai: Kolkata Knight Riders’ youngsters rose to the challenge against Rajasthan Royals on Wednesday night: Shubman Gill slammed 47 off 34 balls before two young pace bowlers, Shivam Mavi and Kamlesh Nagarkoti, picked up four wickets between them to take KKR to a 37-run win.

Opener Gill was impressive in his knock, which included five fours and one six, though the best bowler of the opposition, Jofra Archer, managed to keep him quiet. Gill faced five balls from the England paceman and scored only one run off the first four balls and was dismissed off the fifth, in the 12th over. Gill got most of his runs — 37 off 19 balls — from the relatively unknown Shreyas Gopal (23 runs off 13 balls) and Ankit Rajpoot (14 off 6 balls).

KKR skipper Dinesh Karthik warned against getting carried away and putting pressure on the youngsters. “I think the fact that these young boys are doing well is very good. I don’t think we should get too carried away and make it a lot about them… Just the fact that they’re doing well is very good,” Karthik said. “I don’t want to add pressure on them by making them feel that they are the ones that we are dependent on… There are fabulous cricketers around them as well who will play a role and make them look even better than what they are,” he said.

Mavi grabbed the big wickets of Jos Buttler and in-form Sanju Samson, while Nagarkoti ripped the middle order with two wickets — Robin Uthappa and Riyan Parag — in four deliveries. At the 2018 IPL auction, Nagarkoti, then 18, was snapped up for Rs 3.2 crore, while Mavi, then 19, was bought for Rs 3 crore. But both suffered injury setbacks. Karthik said the two can a learn a lot from their KKR teammate Pat Cummins, the world’s No. 1 Test bowler. TNS, agencies

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