Kolkata Knight Riders triumphed at Eden Gardens once again, this time by 13 runs at Delhi Daredevils’ expense The defending champions’ fourth win in six home matches in IPL 8 put them firmly on course for a playoff berth as they moved up one place to third with 13 points, dislodging Royal Challengers Bangalore. `Change’ was the theme of the evening as KKR skipper Gautam Gambhir, who prefers chasing, opted to bat first on winning the toss and posted a healthy 171 for seven.
The Knight Riders, for the first time in IPL-8, went in with four specialist spinners including Sunil Narine after he was given the all-clear by the BCCI on matchday only . While Narine replaced Ryan ten Does chate, Johan Botha was brought in for Pat Cummins.
However, Narine was short on confidence and bowled quite flat, failing to take a wicket while conceding 31 runs in his four overs. But Piyush Chawla came good for the hosts with a tremendous second spell, picking up three crucial wickets – those of skipper JP Duminy (25), Kedar Jadhav (10) and Yuvraj Singh (0) to break the backbone of the visitors’ innings.Chawla finished with four for 32. DD could only manage 158 for six in reply.
Earlier, Gambhir and Robin Uthappa began on a sedate note as they found it difficult to play their shots on a slow Eden pitch.Zaheer Khan showed glimpses of vintage form and kept the openers quiet. The left-arm seamer was rewarded for his good bowling when Gambhir was caught behind by Kedar Jadhav as he tried to drive away from the body .
But the Daredevils continued to suffer due to their poor fielding. Uthappa was lucky to survive two dropped chances When he was on 15, local boy Manoj Tiwary , who was brought into the XI in place of Mayank Agarwal, dropped a skier at long-on. He had moved to 23 when a super fielder like Yuvraj Singh failed to hold on to a simple offering at short mid wicket. But the wicketkeeper-batsman finally ran out of luck and was trapped in front missing the line while going for a wild swing on the legside to Amit Mishra Uthappa’s 32 came off 31 balls with four fours and a six.
Chawla, who was promoted up the order to play the role of a pinch-hitter, struggled to middle the ball. Manish Pandey also failed to get going as Imran Tahir and Mishra choked the Knight Riders innings in the middle overs.
It was only due to some big hitting by Yusuf Pathan lower down the order that the Knights . managed to finish on a respect able total. The `Baroda bomber’, who played a crucial knock against the Sunrisers in the last match, put his hand up again to smash a brisk 24-ball 42 with three fours and three sixes be fore being caught at long-on by Saurabh Tiwary off Tahir. Botha used the long handle well to collect 18 valuable runs in the last over of the innings, hitting Zaheer for four consecutive boundaries.