Delhi Daredevils produced a thorough all-round performance to notch up their fourth win, beating Kolkata Knight Riders by 27 runs in an Indian Premier League (IPL) clash on Saturday.
Delhi recovered from a poor start to post a strong total of 186/8. It was enough as they claimed wickets at regular intervals to bowl out KKR for 159 in 18.3 overs. It moved Delhi to second in the standings, with eight points from six matches, demoting KKR to third, due to an inferior run rate. KKR have also played a game more.
Delhi skipper Zaheer Khan (3/21) led the way for a disciplined bowling performance. West Indies’ World T20 hero Carlos Brathwaite (3/47) also chipped in with the ball after hitting a quick-fire 34 while batting.
A 105-run fourth wicket partnership between Karun Nair (68) and Sam Billings (54) shaped Delhi’s innings at the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium.
KKR got into early trouble while chasing, losing skipper Gautam Gambhir and pinch-hitter Piyush Chawla. Gambhir (6) produced a leading edge at cover off Zaheer Khan in the third over. His departure allowed the introduction of Chawla (8), who was pushed up in search of some quick runs. But it flopped as he was also claimed by Zaheer to reduce KKR to 33/2 in five overs.
Opener Robin Uthappa (72) carried the team forward but lacked support. Hard-hitter Yusuf Pathan (10) went cheaply to compound their problems.
As did Suryakumar Yadav’s (21) brief but eventful stay at the crease. He hit a four and a six to raise hopes but flattered to deceive, caught superbly by a forward-lunging Shreyas Iyer.
Uthappa carried the bat through and Andre Russell’s lusty hitting (17) brought KKR closer to the target, needing 51 off 24 balls. Leg-spinner Amit Mishra’s sharp caught and bowled chance of Russell broke KKR’s momentum in the 17th over.
It proved to be the pivotal moment of the match as KKR lost two more wickets in the next over, including Uthappa’s, to fall 27 runs short, losing the final five wickets in the 10 balls.
Earlier, a timely fourth-wicket partnership between Nair and Billings helped shape Delhi’s innings. Carlos Brathwaite (34) put the finishing touches to an impressive batting performance from the home team.
KKR skipper Gautam Gambhir won the toss and elected to bowl and his decision was given instant gratification by pacer Andre Russell. The West Indian was included in the starting 11 and made prompt impact picking up two wickets in the first over.
He began with dismissing Shreyas Iyer leg before wicket for a first-ball duck. And then accounted for Delhi’s batting mainstay Quinton de Kock (1), who mistimed his attempted pull to be caught at square leg.
Delhi took some time to recover from the double strike. Sanju Samson and Karun Nair began the consolidation. But it was jolted midway as off-spinner Sunil Narine trapped Samson (15) to peg back Delhi at 32/3 in six overs.
Nair (68) held the innings together and kept the scoreboard ticking, pulling Delhi to 70/3 in 10 overs. Middle order batsman Sam Billings (52 off 34 balls) justified his inclusion in the team as he gave company to Nair.
Their fourth-wicket partnership of 105 runs not only enabled Delhi to recover but put them on a firm footing to finish strongly.
Excerpts taken from IANS