KKR start IPL campaign in style
A brilliant bowling effort and a confident run-chase enabled Kolkata Knight Riders to beat Delhi Daredevils by 9 wickets in their opening fixture of the Indian Premier League at the Eden Gardens here on Sunday.
Chasing a paltry total of 98 runs set by Daredevils, Robin Uthapa (35 off 33 balls) and skipper Gautam Gambhir (38* off 41 balls) made it easy for them to register victory in their first IPL match.
Earlier, pacers Andre Russell (3/24) and John Hastings (2/6) triggered the collapse before the spin duo of Brad Hogg (3/19) and Piyush Chawla (2/21) came to the party.
Put in, Delhi Daredevils raced to 24 in just 13 balls with Knight Riders having some initial hiccups.
Quinton de Kock looked imperious when he unsettled Umesh Yadav’s line with successive four and a six.
The Knight Riders bounced back in the next over with Russell giving twin breakthroughs of de Kock (17 from 10 balls) and Shreyas Iyer (0) before Hasting tightened things up the other end.
Introduced only at midway stage, Knight Riders spin armory, without their ace weapon Sunil Narine, lived up to the expectation as Hogg and Piyush Chawla foxed a clueless looking Daredevils batting line-up.
Pawan Negi (11) and Sanju Samson (15) tried to repair the damage with a 20-run partnership but Hogg brilliantly set up the former with two dot balls before deceiving the left-hander with his flight to have him stumped.
Coming at No 7, Carlos Brathwaite received a thunderous applause from the KKR supporters as the World T20 hero lived up to the hype with a second-ball six but only to be trapped plumb deceived by a Chawla googly two balls later.
Earlier, de Kock was deceived by the bounce and took a top edge that Yusuf Pathan almost fumbled at mid off with the ball popping out before taking in his third attempt.
He trapped Iyer lbw in his last ball while at the other end, Hastings bowled a tidy over with five dot balls giving away just one run as boundaries suddenly dried up with two new batsmen at the crease.
Russell’s third over proved to be a match-turning from the Knights perspective as Daredevils failed to overcome from the twin setbacks with their young Indian batsman showing little application.
Their run-rate was well above eight after the third over and what was needed was smart rotation of strikes but the likes of Mayank Agarwal (9) and Karun Nair (3) perished playing expansive shots.