Delhi: Carlos Brathwaite scored a scintillating 34 and took three wickets as Delhi Daredevils snatched a 27-run win against Kolkta Knight Riders, avenging their defeat at Eden Gardens. Earlier, half-centuries from Karun Nair and Sam Billings took Delhi to a challenging score of 186, despite losing early wickets.
It has not been often when Gautam Gambhir and Robin Uthappa have failed to provide KKR with a decent start – but they did so on Saturday. Chasing the challenging total, Kolkata lost their skipper with just 21 runs on the board. Interestingly, instead of bringing on their middle order batsmen, Gambhir decided to send Piyush Chawla at number 3, followed by Yusuf Pathan at number 4 – and both the experiments failed.
Robin Uthappa and Suryakumar Yadav formed a 34-run partnership, but just when the duo were looking dangerous, Craig Brathwaite picked up his second wicket by dismissing the later. Uthappa kept fighting a lone battle at the other end, though, and he brought up his half-century by dancing down the track to Amit Mishra and sending the ball into the stands.
Kolkata needed 60 runs off the last five overs, and Uthappa had Andre Russell as his partner in what was increasingly looking like an improbable chase. The former took on Amit Mishra in the 17th over and hit him for a huge six over deep midwicket, and then followed it up with a reverse sweep through the legs of the wicket keeper. Russell also joined in on the act and hit Mishra for another boundary, in what was turning out to be an expensive over.
However, the over ended on a positive note for Delhi as Mishra took a fantastic reflex catch off his own bowling to dismiss the big West Indian. In the next over, both Jason Holder and Robin Uthappa were dismissed by Morris, and that pulled the curtains down on Kolkata's hopes of chasing down the target.
Earlier, Kolkata Knight Riders had won every match they had chased so far, so it was not a surprise when Gautam Gambhir won the toss and opted to bowl first.
Gambhir announced three changes to the starting lineup with Jason Holder, Brad Hogg, and Piyush Chawla replacing Shakib Al Hasan, Chris Lynn, Jaydev Unadkat. Delhi also made a host of changes to their team. Zaheer revealed that JP Duminy is “under the weather”, which gave Sam Billings a chance to make his debut. Carlos Brathwaite, Mohammed Shami, and Shreyas Iyer also returned to the lineup.
Kolkata had picked up a total of 11 wickets during the first six overs in their previous six matches, and that trend continued at Feroz Shah Kotla today. In their last meeting, Delhi lost four wickets during the powerplay and they lost three wickets today to get off to a miserable start. Andre Russell dismissed both the openers in the first over of the innings. The West Indian bowled with pace and bounce, and if that was not enough, Sunil Narine's spin did the rest to remove Sanju Samson.
By the end of the fifth over, Delhi were tottering at 32/3 and it looked like the script from Eden Gardens earlier this month, when Delhi were dismissed for a paltry 98, was being replayed at Kotla. Karun Nair and Sam Billings had other plans though, and the duo took on the responsibility to repair the Delhi innings.
The pair kept the scoreboard ticking constantly and the two were able to hit boundaries at regular intervals. They put up a partnership of 105 runs – Delhi highest fourth wicket partnership this season – with both the players bringing up their half-centuries in style. Nair, in particular, brought out his sweep shot against the spinners and milked them for a lot of runs in the middle overs.
Once Nair and last match's nearly-hero Chris Morris was dismissed by Umesh Yadav in the 17th over, Carlos Brathwaite took over the center stage. The big West Indian went after Yadav and Hogg and played a trailblazing knock of 34 runs from just 11 deliveries. His innings provided Delhi with the momentum they were looking for towards the end, with Billings ably supporting him at the other end. They managed to accumulate 109 runs in the last 9 overs to post a challenging total of 186.
Brief Scores: Delhi Daredevils 186/8 in 20 overs (Karun Nair 68(50), Sam Billings 54(34); Andre Russell 3/26, Umesh Yadav 3/33) won against Kolkata Knight Riders 159 all out in 18.3 overs (Robin Uthappa 72(52), Suryakumar Yadav 21(13); Zaheer Khan 3/21, Craig Brathwaite 3/47)