By Sirshendu Panth and Anurag Dey
Kolkata: Delhi Daredevils crushed Kolkata Knight Riders by eight wickets, displaying a superb all-round show to open their Indian Premier League campaign in style in a rain-truncated game at the Eden Gardens here Thursday.
After thundershowers caused a 150-minute delay, reducing the match to a 12-over affair, the DareDevils restricted their rivals after winning the toss to 97/9 and then coasted to victory with five balls to spare.
Having played a destructive knock, Irfan Pathan (42 not out off 20 balls, 2×4, 3×6) hit the winning stroke, a boundary, as the Delhi side reached 100/2, much to the dismay of the near capacity crowd at the historic ground who waited patiently for hours to watch the action in the middle. Glenn Maxwell remained not out on 3.
The third wicket partnership added 43 runs in 23 deliveries, with Pathan doing almost the entire scoring.
Australian Aaron Finch (30; 27b, 5×4)) played a strokeful knock, while skipper Virender Sehwag (20 off 13b, 1×6, 1×4) threatened to run away with the match during a 49-run opening wicket stand, as the Knight Riders’ bowlers failed to make much of an impression. However, the duo were dismissed in quick succession that slowed down the run rate.
At one point of time, the Daredevils required 39 runs in four overs, and the match was still open. But Pathan’s lusty hitting ensured an easy win for the Delhi franchisee.
In the evening, the Knight Riders got off to a poor start, losing their star opener Brendon McCullum (9) in the very second over, before Daredevils fast bowler Morne Morkel (3/18) wrecked havoc with his yorkers.
Handed the ball in the third over, the South African shattered the stumps of compatriot Jacques Kallis (4) and local boy Manoj Tiwary (0) to be on a hattrick but Yusuf Pathan prevented the feat.
Morkel later got rid of Knights skipper Gautam Gambhir (16) to reduce KKR to 5/54 inside seven overs.
It was only thanks to cameos by local boys Laxmi Ratan Shukla (26; 17 b, 1×4, 2×6) and Debabrata Das (18; 9 b, 2×6) that the Knight Riders could play their full quota of overs to reach close to the three-figure mark.
Umesh Yadav (2/9) and Roelof Van Der Merwe (2/28) were the other successful bowlers for the visitors.
Irfan Pathan was man of the match.