Hailed as the 'unsung' hero of Indian cricket, Gautam Gambhir turns 39 on Wednesday (October 14), and wishes are pouring in for him from all around the world. The southpaw was a technically sound batsman with a rock-solid defence, and his record in all forms of cricket is nothing but impressive. Be it playing a marathon knock in Test matches or accumulating quick runs in T20s, Gambhir rose to every challenge which came his way. In fact, it was Gambhir's knocks in the finals only which guided India to triumphs in T20 World Cup 2007 and 2011 World Cup. Alongside international cricket, the left-handed batsman also proved his mettle in the Indian Premier League (IPL) where he represented Kolkata Knight Riders and Delhi Daredevils (now Delhi Capitals). Gautam Gambhir Slams Shashi Tharoor for Calling Sanju Samson ’Next MS Dhoni.’
Starting his IPL career with Delhi in 2008, Gambhir enjoyed a decent run in the first three seasons for IPL, but his best was unleashed when he joined KKR in 2011. The former batting star changed the fate of the team as Kolkata qualified for the playoffs for the first time in 2011. In the subsequent seasons, Gambhir went a step ahead and guided KKR to the titles in 2012 & 2014. Although he never got many chances to lead the Indian side, the Delhi-born cricketer is regarded as one of the best captains in IPL history. Also, his tally of 4218 runs in 154 matches speaks volumes of his batting prowess. As the talisman turns a year older, let's revisit some of his best knocks in IPL. Gautam Gambhir Picks Sachin Tendulkar As Better ODI Batsman Than Virat Kohli, Here’s Why.
72 vs Kings XI Punjab in 2010
Chasing 143 at the Mohali Stadium, Delhi lost the likes of Virender Sehwag, Tillakaratne Dilshan and AB de Villiers cheaply and weren't likely to cross the line. However, skipper Gambhir had other ideas as he made an incredible fightback. After assessing the conditions well in the initial overs, the southpaw shifted gears and smashed KXIP bowlers all over the park. In total, Gambhir scored 72 off 54 deliveries as Daredevils won the game by five wickets.
75 vs Rajasthan Royals in 2011
Gambhir went absolutely berserk when KKR met Rajasthan Royals in Jaipur. Chasing a modest total of 160 runs, the southpaw came out to bat at number three and made a mockery of RR bowlers. From Shane Warne to Shane Watson, the left-handed batsman took everyone to cleaners and scored an unbeaten 75 off 44 deliveries. As a result, Kolkata comfortably won the game by nine wickets.
93 vs Royal Challengers Bangalore in 2012
Another Gautam Gambhir special was witnessed when Kolkata hosted Royal Challengers Bangalore in IPL 2012. After electing to bat first in Eden Gardens, the veteran put up a batting exhibition and made opposition captain Daniel Vettori looked utterly clueless. Although he fell seven runs short of a well-deserved century, KKR posted a mountain of 190 runs and went on to win the contest by 47 runs.
90 vs Sunrisers Hyderabad in 2016
SRH were restricted to 142/7 after electing to bat first, and the Hyderabad track seemed like favouring the bowlers. However, that wasn't the case when Gambhir came out to bat. Tackling the likes of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mustafizur Rahman, he started steadily but attacked the bowlers after settling his feet. He went to score an unbeaten 90 as KKR crossed the line with eight wickets in hand.
In 2018, Gambhir played his last IPL season for Delhi. Despite being the captain of the side, the southpaw stepped down in the middle of the season owing to his dismal form, giving reins to the young Shreyas Iyer. Another example of why he was a selfless player. After serving the country in the 22 yards, Gambhir joined politics in 2019 and is currently serving as BJP's MP from East Delhi.