Sharjah : Kolkata Knight Riders continued their resurgence in the ongoing IPL 2021 by defeating table-toppers Delhi Capitals by three wickets in match 42 of the tournament here on Tuesday.
The Kolkata outfit put on a disciplined bowling display to restrict high-flying Delhi for 127/9 with Sunil Narine, Lockie Ferguson, and Venkatesh Iyer chipping in with two wickets each. For DC, captain Rishabh Pant and makeshift opener Steve Smith top-scored with 39 runs each.
In reply, KKR lost as many as seven wickets while chasing the modest total but responsible knocks from Nitish Rana (36* off 26) and Sunil Narine (21 off 10) at the end helped register the win despite Kagiso Rabada’s 3/13.
With the win, KKR now consolidate their 4th spot in the table with 10 points in 11 games while Delhi dropped to the second spot by the virtue of a slower net run rate in comparison to Chennai Super Kings.
At the beginning of the chase, KKR opener Venkatesh took an aggressive stance from the word go by clobbering pacer Anrich Nortje (1/150 for two boundaries in the first over. Gill added pace to the chase as well with a six off Rabada in the next over.
To counter the run flow, DC skipper Rishabh Pant introduced spinners from both the ends inside the Powerplay and the move worked as just 12 runs came off the next 16 deliveries including the wicket of Venkatesh. The left-handed batsman (14 off 15) was sent packing by Lalit Yadav with just 28 runs on the board.
In came Rahul Tripathi at No. 3 and he started off with the bang by hammering Yadav for a six off the very first ball. However, that was his best contribution of the night as he fell soon after to Avesh Khan for 9.
With the slow nature of the pitch testing grit of KKR batsmen, Gill and Nitish Rana added 24 runs for the third wicket to put 67 runs on the board by the end of the 10th over.
However, before KKR could get further comfortable DC came back in the game strong as the batting side scoreboard changed to 67/3 in space of nine deliveries. Rabada first delivered a maiden over and the wicket of Gill after setting him up with a change of pace. The South African was quickly backed by Ashwin, who had Eoin Morgan taken at first slip for naught.
With the game slipping away, a set Rana came to KKR’s rescue had two short but important partnerships with Dinesh Karthik ( 12 off 14) and Sunil Narine (20 off 10) respectively to bring the game home with 11 balls to spare.
Rana, who stayed till the end with a 26-ball 36*, added 21 runs for the fourth wicket with Karthik under pressure before the latter was played down by Avesh Khan. Rana was soon joined by pinch-hitter Narine, who quickly scored 21 runs in 10 balls (two sixes and a four) to take the game out of DC’s reach.
By the time Narine fell to Nortje, KKR just needed five runs off the last 19 balls. Khan and Rabada did earn the table-toppers another consolation by bowling out Tim Southee for 3 but it was too little too late.