Nitish Rana (59), Sunil Narine (3/18) and yet another blazing knock from Andre Russell (41 from 12) took Kolkata Knight Riders to a comprehensive 71-run win against Delhi Daredevils at Eden Gardens in the Indian Premier League on Monday. The result meant Daredevils skipper Gautam Gambhir’s return to Kolkata ended on a sour note.
Russell’s whirlwind 41, which included six sixes, ensured that Kolkata overcame a slow start to post a challenging 200/9 after they were put in to bat by Gambhir. It was a much-anticipated homecoming for Gambhir, who had led KKR to twin titles in 2012 and 2014 before the association ended this year. Kolkata put up a batting show that left Delhi with little chance, crashing to their third defeat from four matches.
Glenn Maxwell (47 from 22 balls) and Rishabh Pant (43 from 26) kept Delhi in the hunt with a breezy 62-run partnership from 32 balls. But the spin duo of Narine and Kuldeep Yadav (3/32) triggered a spectacular collapse as Delhi folded for 129 in 14.2 overs.
Kolkata removed three Delhi batsmen including Jason Roy and Gambhir inside the first three overs, derailing their chase, but Pant was playing a blinder.
India’s Under-19 World Cup winning pacer Shivam Mavi got his maiden IPL wicket in Gambhir in his first over as the former KKR skipper played on.
Kuldeep conceded successive sixes against Maxwell but the wrist-spinner had the last laugh, dismissing the Australian for. Narine also got to 100 IPL wickets with Vijay Shankar’s wicket, becoming only the third bowler in the tournament’s history to do so.
During the Kolkata innings, spinner Rahul Tewatia took three wickets in the final over, but Rana and Russell’s 61-run partnership from 22 balls was enough to take them to 200. Boult gave Delhi Daredevils a terrific start, bowling the tournament’s first maiden to Chris Lynn, and then accounting for Narine.
Kolkata manged to score 50 runs in the powerplay, after Lynn’s (31) recovery and Uthappa, who scored a brisk 35 from 19 balls.