Andre Russell and Nitish Rana starred with the bat before Kolkata’s spin pair of Kuldeep Yadav-Sunil Narine strangulated the Delhi batsmen as Kolkata Knight Riders registered a comprehensive 71-run victory over the Delhi Daredevils and spoiled Gautam Gambhir’s return to the Eden Gardens.
Chasing 201 to win, Delhi were never really in the game as they lost wickets early in the innings.
Jason Roy was stumped for 1, with Piyush Chawla striking in the first over. Shreyas Iyer (4) and Gambhir (8) didn’t last long either.
Rishabh Pant and Glenn Maxwell then got together to put up a 62-run partnership for the fourth wicket to give some hope to the Delhi fans but once Pant was dismissed by Kuldeep for 43, Delhi fell like nine pins.
Maxwell too was accounted for by the same bowler, both being dismissed on short balls.
Narine and Kuldeep then just ran through the Delhi batting with none of the other batsmen scoring in double figures.
In the beginning, Kolkata openers Chris Lynn and Sunil Narine looked a bit rusty. Both the batsmen couldn’t time the ball well and were even struggling to find the middle of the bat. Trent Boult also bowled the first maiden over of this year’s IPL.
In his second over, Boult accounted for Narine’s (1) wicket and ensured the all-rounder doesn’t score quick runs for his side.
It was start-stop kind of an outing for Lynn (31), who did strike a few boundaries, but played out a lot of dot balls as well.
Kolkata’s innings was somewhat revived by vice-captain Robin Uthappa, who scored 35 runs from 19 balls. In his innings he hit three sixes and two fours. He ensured that he improved the innings run-rate, which set the tone for rest of the innings.
Not only that, Uthappa constructed a 55-run partnership with Lynn.
After Uthappa and Lynn’s departure, KKR’s run-rate dipped a bit and at one stage were 117/4 in 13.4 overs, but did really well to finish with 200/9 in their 20 overs. Kolkata mustered 87 runs in the last five overs.
This was largely possible due to the efforts of Andre Russell (41) and Nitish Rana (59). While Russell was at his usual best and bludgeoned Delhi bowlers all over the park, Rana played a watchful hand and kept getting boundaries at regular intervals.
As far as bowling for Delhi is concerned, Boult and Rahul Tewatia shone for them. Boult returned with figures of 2/29 and stopped the run-flow from one end. Tewatia, an unlikely hero gave away just 18 runs in his three overs and bagged three wickets, all in one over.
It was a disastrous day for Mohammad Shami as he just couldn’t get his length right and was taken to the cleaners. He gave away a massive 53 runs in his quota of overs.