Kolkata: Shubman Gill can stay calm under pressure and that is an unique skill to have, said Kolkata Knight Riders skipper Dinesh Karthik after their seven-wicket defeat to Delhi Capitals here on Friday night.
Gill, given a chance to open the batting in the absence of indisposed Chris Lynn and injured Sunil Narine, made full use of it by scoring a 39-ball 65.
KKR ended up on the losing side but the U-19 World Cup winner made a strong claim to be considered for the opening role regularly as he has to bat at No.6 or 7 more often than not for the franchise.
Today Shubman used the opportunity and did really well. It shows his class as player," Karthik told reporters at the post match press conference at the Eden Gardens.
"He's able to stay calm under pressure situations, which is a very unique skill to have. He has delivered for us over and over again.
"He realises that whenever there's an opportunity he will be sent up the order, if not, he's pretty okay batting at No 7 and finishing of games whenever he gets the opportunity. I think we've been very straightforward with him and he appreciates that," Karthik explained.
Besides Lynn who is down with a flu and Narine who is nursing a hamstring issue, Karthik said the team's main weapon Andre Russell is also not 100 per cent and whether he will be playing against Chennai Super Kings or not on Sunday will be decided on the match day.
"He strained a little bit in Chennai game. He has a bit of an issue. He braved that still and went on to play this game. He is always a special cricketer. We will take a call day after."
On Narine's miss, Karthik said: "Sunil brings in a bit of padding and bowling. Most of all, he's experienced with a cool head that always helps. It really makes a difference. Narine has been someone who's given us a good start whenever he's got an opportunity."
KKR have lost all three games batting first. Asked about the trend, Karthik opined: "It's been a tournament where obviously chasing is something. Even last couple of years the trend has been that teams have been chasing down big total. So it's interesting the game is going down in that direction. It goes a lot to show how true the wickets are."
KKR had posted 178/7 against Delhi but that was not enough in the end as the visitors won with seven balls to spare Karthik admitted they were 10-15 runs short.
"I don't know if they read the pitch better. Obviously both the teams read the pitch normally. There was nothing different we did. We knew that we needed to get a big total but we ended up getting probably 10-15 runs short. Eden has been one place where the wicket is so true and the outfield being so fast, the boundaries come easily. So here you have to get a score which is about 5-10 runs more than par on other grounds."
On their next assignment, against table-toppers Chennai , Karthik said: "Obviously it's a big game. They're a good team. Two good teams playing against each other will be a good game."