On a day when Kolkata’s batting unit enjoyed a great day on the field, Delhi’s reciprocation couldn’t really match up with the high-scoring momentum. While Sunil Narine scored an unbeaten 91 to take KKR to 183/3, Delhi was void of a similar performance and they ended up on 166/4, losing by 17 runs.
Winning the toss and opting to bowl first, Delhi Capitals faced the wrath of both Kolkata Knight Riders’ openers. Even Ashwin’s incorporation to the attack did not cause any control of runs as Gill (32* off 14) and Narine (29* off 22) took KKR to a total of 65/0 at the end of the Powerplay. It was only in the 9th over, bowled by Sandeep Lamichhane, that Delhi got their first breakthrough in the form of Gill (35 off 19). The scoring took a dip as Keemo Paul entered the fray, following which Narine stepped up to his prime form across the next couple of overs. At the end of 15 overs, with KKR on 136/1, it was clear that there was a bit of balance restored between bat and ball. Lamichhane claimed his second wicket in the form of Rana (33 off 22) at the start of the death after which KKR immediately lost their captain. However, Narine (91* off 68) stayed on unbeaten and took the total to 183/3 at the end of 20 overs.
Chasing a target of 184, Delhi openers started off slow but things soon took a weird turn as after Shaw(5 off 5) was dismissed, in the fourth over by Krishna. As for the new partnership between Dhawan and Rahane took off, the run rate soared for Delhi who took the score to 59/1 at the end of the Powerplay. It took an amazing caught and bowled by Narine to remove Dhawan quite early into the middle overs after which the run rate did take a dip. Both Rahane and Iyer did not take risks in the middle overs and with a steady scoring rate managed a total of at the end of 15 overs. With 67 required off the last five overs, Delhi couldn’t keep up with the asking rate and as Krishna made a solid comeback by removing Iyer in the 19th over, there was no looking back for KKR. After Cummins bagged the wicket of Pant in the 19th over, Delhi lost the game by 17 runs despite having 6 wickets in hand.
As Delhi lost Shaw early in the chase, a huge chunk of responsibility was on the experienced batsman Dhawan to pull off the chase, especially as Rahane took to the back seat. Dhawan did take the run-rate soaring in the Powerplay, despite the early setback. However, as Dhawan was dismissed in the 8th over, by Narine, Delhi’s batting eventually stabilized but never significantly soared again.
Highs and Lows
Sunil Narine’s performance was the stand out one in the game and it had all elements that make a T20I innings great. The trajectory of the southpaw’s innings was smart, calculated and yet a thunderous one. Initially, Narine(91 n.o. Off 68) allowed Gill to take the driver’s seat, but when the time came, Narine stepped up against all odds, especially in the latter half of the game, guiding KKR to a solid total.
For Kolkata, it was their openers who did the task of forming the perfect foundation of their innings with a 76-run partnership of just 49 balls. However, it was a shame that Gill, who started off brilliantly, could not reach his half-century and was dismissed after a quickfire 35 off 19. The way Gill handled pace and spin, both, in the Powerplay was an innings worth watching.
Powerplay exploitation: - KKR (10/10) DC (9/10)
Kolkata openers Shubman Gill and Sunil Narine completely lived up to the name of our subcategory of Powerplay exploitation as they smashed both ace pacers- Kagiso Rabada and Ishant Sharma- in the first four overs. The 20-year-old right-hander then took his game up a notch as spin came along, in the form of Ravichandran Ashwin, even as Narine took the back seat. The sixth over, bowled by Sharma, conceded 10 runs to take Kolkata to an exciting score of 65/0 at the end of the Powerplay.
On the other hand, the start to Delhi’s chase was a total opposite as Pat Cummins, clearly, put pressure on Prithvi Shaw and Shikhar Dhawan. However, as Dhawan squeezed out a couple of boundaries off Prasidh Krishna there was evident confidence in the batting. It was, in fact, Krishna’s second over that turned out to be the highlight of the Powerplay as the 13-run over saw the dismissal of Shaw. However, the opened up a new door for Delhi, with the partnership between Dhawan and Rahane, who stormed at the KKR bowlers for the next couple of overs, taking the total to 59/1 at the end of the Powerplay.
Middle overs:- KKR (8.5/10) DC (6.5/10)
After KKR’s dominating performance in the Powerplay, Sandeep Lamichhane’s in into the Delhi attack did cause a decent 5-run over, finally, in the 7th over. However, Narine was back on the driver’s seat once again has Ashwin came in to bowl his second over. Delhi, however, got their much needed breakthrough in the 9th over as Lamichhane bowled Gill (35 off 19) and broke the 76-run opening stand. But the new partnership between Rana and Narine soon settled down and squeezed out 11 runs from the same over as Rana smashed Lamichhane for a six on the final delivery. It was the advent of Keemo Paul that put the runs under control in the 10th over, following which it took Narine to squeeze out another six of Lamichhane to bring KKR back to form. Paul then went for 19 runs in the 12th over, the biggest in the innings thus far. The next three overs were pretty uneventful, as KKR managed to score 136/1 at the end of 15 overs with an unbeaten partnership of 60 between Rana and Narine.
After a single blow for Delhi in the Powerplay, they recovered soon ahead of the middle overs. But the second blow was something that was hard on the Delhi Capitals as a brilliant caught and bowled by Narine dismissed the set batsman Dhawan (38 off 25) in the 8th over. As skipper Shreyas Iyer joined Rahane, the two took a more stabilizing approach to their third-wicket partnership as Kuldeep Yadav and Andre Russell produced some decent bowling from overs 7 to 12. The drift continued with Siddhesh Lad coming in to bowl in the 13th over and conceding just 7 runs, followed by a similar over off Russell. Delhi still required 67 runs off the remaining 30 deliveries, as they managed to put up a total of 117/3 at the end of 15 overs.
Death Bowling: - DC (6/10) and KKR (7.5/10)
Lamichhane returned for his fourth and final over in the 16th over and was able to dismiss Rana and another wicket followed in the next over as Ashwin bowled captain Eoin Morgan for a golden duck. Kolkata’s batting in the Powerplay and the death overs were, in fact, opposites considering the scoring but as Narine stayed on, KKR had little to worry about. Despite a couple of blows for Kolkata in the death overs, they added 47 runs in the final five overs taking the total to 183/3.
Iyer had managed to take his scoring rate up a notch ahead of the death overs and continued it in the crucial stages of the chase. However, Rahane failed to pick that up leaving the required runs to be 46 off the last 18 deliveries. As Krishna came back into the attack, in the 18th over, both batsman once again struggled to put on a befitting scoring according to the high asking rate and the over ended with Iyer departing. With Cummins conceding 9 runs and dismissing Pant in the 19th over, Delhi required 32 off the last over. Even as Krishna conceded 14 runs in the last over, Delhi capitals fell 18 runs behind the target.
Match Frenzy O Meter - Good
As spectators of the game, we got to witness a brilliant show of batting by Sunil Narine and the game with lots of ups and downs. KKR had the edge all along but there were glimpses of promise from Delhi, that made the game better than just average despite the 17-run difference.
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