PUNE, May 22: Kolkata Knight Riders, buoyed by Yusuf Pathan and Laxmi Ratan Shukla’s brisk, unbroken 56-run partnership in the final four overs of its innings, stormed into the final of the DLF Indian Premier League 2012, defeating Delhi Daredevils by 18 runs in the Qualifier at the packed and vociferous Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium here tonight.
Kolkata Knight Riders packed powerful punches at the start and finish of its innings to post a competitive 162 for four. The Delhi Daredevils bowlers made a good comeback after an early flourish by Kolkata Knight Riders skipper Gautam Gambhir but could not stop a late onslaught by Yusuf Pathan and Laxmi Ratan Shukla on a good track.
Chasing 163 for a win, Delhi Daredevils openers David Warner and Virender Sehwag fell cheaply and only Naman Ojha (28, 28 balls, four fours, one six) and Mahela Jayawardene (40, 33 balls, six fours) offered resistance with their 59-run partnership. However, Ojha’s fall to a catch at point off Rajat Bhatia slowed the scoring rate significantly.
As his luck would have it, Warner had just hit a six off left-arm spinner Shakib Al-Hasan but was ruled out caught behind off the next delivery when the ball appeared to balloon off his pad. In the next over, Sehwag was caught by Brendon McCullum when he tried to slash an outswinger from L Balaji. It left Naman Ojha and Mahela Jayawardene to hold the side together.
Gambhir played the aggressor’s role against the fast bowlers as he pulled and flashed outside the off-stump to lead the charge to post a competitive total. He made 32 (16 balls, three fours, two sixes) before being run out by a direct hit by Venugopal Rao from mid-off when he was sent back by Brendon McCullum in the sixth over.
Left-arm spinner Pawan Negi, who was brought on as soon as power play overs ended, bowled a nagging line to both McCullum and Jacques Kallis. Sehwag was encouraged to employ himself at slip. From 48 for one in six overs, Kolkata Knight Riders managed just 58 runs in 10 overs after the fall of Gambhir’s wicket as Negi bowled four overs for 18 runs.
The fall of McCullum (31, 36 balls, two fours, one six), Jacques Kallis (30, 33 balls, three fours) and Shakib Al-Hasan (1) allowed the combination of Yusuf Pathan (40 not out, 21 balls, three fours, two sixes) and Shukla (24 not out, 11 balls, three fours, one six) to come together and put on 56 runs in the final four overs.
While Kolkata Knight Riders has earned the right to play the May 27 final, Delhi Daredevils will have to get past the winner of Wednesday’s Eliminator between Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings to have a crack at the title.
After 16 overs, Kolkata Knight Riders were 106 for four and it looked as if Delhi Daredevils had pulled their opponent back after the brisk start given by Gautam Gambhir and Brendon McCullum. Delhi Daredevils were looking to restrict the Knight Riders to a score below 150 but Yusuf Pathan and LR Shukla had different plans as they struck a quick fire unbeaten 56 runs partnership (24 balls, six fours, two sixes) for the fifth wicket. That partnership took the score to 162 which made Delhi Daredevils' task much more difficult.
Delhi Daredevils’ star performer:
Young 19-year-old Pawan Negi was the pick of the bowler for the Delhi Daredevils. He showed great maturity and that also on such a big stage. After being hit for a huge six by Brendon McCullum, the young left arm bowler came back strong and took the wicket of dangerous McCullum in the very same over. Negi ended his spell with the bowling figure of 4-0-18-1.
DLF Maximum 6s: Yusuf Pathan
Karbonn Kamal Catch: David Warner
Man of the match: Yusuf Pathan
Delhi Daredevils will next play the winner of the match between Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians on May 25 at M. A. Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.