It was Kolkata’s second victory in four matches and it catapulted them to the second spot on the table behind leaders Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Delhi Daredevils were outclassed by a dominant Kolkata Knight Riders outfit that came out with a strong batting display and then backed it up with an equally good bowling and fielding effort to carve out an emphatic 71-run victory.
It was Kolkata’s second victory in four matches and it catapulted them to the second spot on the table behind leaders Sunrisers Hyderabad, who have won all their three games so far.
Incidentally, this was the third straight match where the team that batted first was triumphant unlike the first week where nine of the 10 games were won by teams batting second.
Until Andre Russell walked out to bat, Delhi appeared to be in control of the proceedings and were hopeful of restricting Kolkata to a score of 170-175. But the burly Jamaican, who idolises Chris Gayle, wrecked their hopes with a power-packed batting display to turn the tide in Kolkata’s favour.
He came to the crease after the dismissal of captain Dinesh Karthik with Kolkata in a spot of bother at 117 for 4 in the 14th over. And by the time he was dismissed in the 18th over, Kolkata had galloped to 178 as 61 runs had come off just 3.4 overs with Russell scoring 41 of them in just 12 balls. He smashed six sixes and ended with a strike rate of 341.66. Truly a gamechanger.
Rana held the innings
Nitish Rana was the other batting hero, essaying a crucial role of anchoring the innings. Even as wickets fell at the other end, he was rarely flustered and continued to attack the bowlers with ferocity and ensured the run rate never flagged. His 59 came off 35 balls and contained five fours and four sixes. An attractive batsman to watch, Rana is adept at tackling spin as well as the pacers and with this knock has staked claim to be KKR’s main batsman.
Spin in the tale
Once KKR had raised 200 runs on the board, Delhi’s chase was always going to be decided in how they tackled the rivals’ quality spin attack comprising wrist spinners Piyush Chawla and Kuldeep Yadav apart from the wily Sunil Narine. They faltered as the spin trio displayed their class to claim seven wickets among themselves. It began with Chawla foxing Jason Roy and captain Dinesh Karthik affecting a smart stumping. Yadav then struck by claiming the dangerous Rishabh Pant when he and Glen Maxwell were threatening to take the game away. After Pant's exit it was all downhill for Delhi as Narine took charge to twist the knife further with a three-wicket haul. He also became the first foreign player to take 100 wickets in IPL.
Gautam Gambir, DD captain: “We have to give it to KKR, they played really well. At one stage we thought they will not get to 170-175 but then getting to 200 was a good effort by them. We knew it was going to be a stiff chase as they have three quality spinners. I thought we tried our level best but we couldn't execute the plans well.”
Dinesh Karthik, KKR captain: “Wins keep you happy and you are slowly there. Touchwood, this is the kind of the day, where you make a move and it works. Feel good as a captain.”
Nitish Rana (KKR), man of the match: “I have been at the end of some unlucky dismissals. But I felt like I was in good form. So in that context, this knock was important for me.”
The road ahead:Kolkata Knight Riders travel to Jaipur for their next game against Rajasthan Royals on Wednesday while Delhi Daredevils have a four-day off before their next game, against Royal Challengers Bangalore at the Chinnaswamy Stadium on Saturday.