Teenager Gill helps Kolkata sweep past Chennai

Kolkata Knight Riders' Shubman Gill bats against Chennai Super Kings during the VIVO IPL cricket T20 match in Kolkata, India, Thursday, May 3, 2018. (AP Photo/Bikas Das)
Kolkata Knight Riders' Dinesh Karthik, center, takes a run as Chennai Super Kings' bowler Lungi Ngidi, right, looks during the VIVO IPL cricket T20 match in Kolkata, India, Thursday, May 3, 2018. (AP Photo/Bikas Das)
Chennai Super Kings' Dwayne Bravo, left, congratulates Kolkata Knight Riders' Dinesh Karthik for the win over them by six wickets during the VIVO IPL cricket T20 match in Kolkata, India, Thursday, May 3, 2018. (AP Photo/Bikas Das)

KOLKATA, India — Teenager Shubman Gill hit a maiden Indian Premier League half-century to help Kolkata Knight Riders to an easy six-wicket win over Chennai Super Kings on Thursday.

 Replying to Chennai's 177-5, the 18-year-old scored an unbeaten 57 off 36 balls, including six fours and two sixes, as Kolkata finished on 180-4 with 14 balls to spare. He put on an unbroken 83 off 36 deliveries for the fifth wicket with skipper Dinesh Karthik to see his team home.

 Kolkata did not get off to the best start. Chris Lynn (12) smacked Lungi Ngidi for two sixes in the first over but was then caught at slip off the same bowler.

Robin Uthappa also went cheaply before Sunil Narine made 32 off 20 balls and Gill, promoted to number four, took the game away from Chennai.

Gill, the second highest run-getter at this year's Under-19 World Cup won by India, was given good support by Karthik who produced a typically swashbuckling 45 not out off 18 balls, hitting seven fours and a six as Kolkata climbed to third in the standings with its fifth victory of the season.  

"I was pleased to be promoted today. It was crucial to see off the spinners and we rotated the strike well. This is what I discussed with DK (Karthik)," Gill said.

Earlier, MS Dhoni scored 43 not out off 25 balls for Chennai.

Put into bat, Shane Watson (36) and Faf du Plessis (27) provided a quick start. Piyush Chawla then bowled Du Plessis with a googly before Watson and Suresh Raina (31) shared a second-wicket partnership of 43.

 Chennai then lost Watson and Raina in the space of 10 runs and, when Narine bowled the in-form Ambati Rayudu for 21, the team was 119-4 in the 15th over.

 Dhoni counter-attacked with four sixes as he put on 54 with Ravindra Jadeja for the fifth wicket but, ultimately, Chennai lost their second game in three matches.

 "The wicket became much better to bat on in the second innings," Dhoni said. "So a few more runs would have helped. We need to do better than this in the bowling department.

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