Gambhir’s silent moves that helped KKR


New Delhi: Mahendra Singh Dhoni… the most successful captain in IPL history. Under his captaincy, Dhoni won the IPL for Chennai five times and took it to the playoffs the most number of times. Rohit Sharma, the captain who won the IPL for Mumbai Indians five times. Till now, when there was talk of winning the title in IPL, only the names of these two used to come up. But now the story has moved forward. One more name has been added to this list, about whom it can be said that that person knows how to take the team to the playoffs and make it win. This is Gautam Gambhir.

Under his captaincy, Gambhir took the Kolkata Knight Riders to the playoffs for the first time in the year 2011 and then the next year i.e. in 2012, he made the team win the final. In 2014, he was again successful in getting the title for the team. In the year 2018, Gambhir left Kolkata. But as soon as he came as a mentor in 2024, the fate of the team changed and such master strokes were played that the team was successful in winning the title for the third time.

Sunil Narine made an opener

If we look at Gambhir’s biggest masterstroke, it was to make Sunil Narine an opener again. When Gambhir was the captain of Kolkata, he made Narine open and the team benefited from it. This time when Gambhir returned to Kolkata, he made Narine play as an opener. The result was that KKR’s team was a hit in the powerplay. Narine scored a lot of runs along with Phil Salt.

Narine’s specialty is his mystery spin, but this season this player shone more with his bat. In 14 matches, Narine scored 488 runs at an average of 180.74. During this, his average was 34.86. Three half-centuries and one century came from Narine’s bat. By sending Narine and Salt to open, Gambhir’s attempt was to make proper use of the powerplay. His move worked.

Trusting Mitchell Starc

When Kolkata placed their bets on Mitchell Starc and were successful in buying him for Rs 24.75 crore in the auction, Gambhir’s reaction was quite telling. He knew what Starc could do. But many people had said at that time that Starc withdraws his name at the last moment. Starc failed in the initial matches as well. He was unable to get wickets for the team in the initial overs and was also conceding runs. Here too, Gambhir’s decision was questioned but he kept faith in Starc.

Starc did not let Gambhir’s trust go waste. Starc got out in two big matches and from there Kolkata dominated. The first qualifier was also held between Kolkata and Hyderabad. In this match, Starc dismissed Hyderabad’s stormy batsman Travis Head. That too without opening the account. After this, he dismissed Nitish Reddy and then Shahbaz Ahmed and pushed Hyderabad on the backfoot.

Starc got out in the final as well. In this match, he dismissed another stormy opener of Hyderabad, Abhishek Sharma. Abhishek got out in the first over. Then Starc got rid of Rahul Tripathi who could have scored big for Hyderabad. This is where the backbone of Hyderabad’s batting broke and they could not make a comeback.


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