Harpal Singh Bedi / New Delhi
Delhi Daredevils were left ruing their luck as Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) powered by 110 run fourth wicket stand between Manish Pandey (69 not out) and Yusuf Pathan (59) scripted a dramatic 4 –wicket victory to chalk out their third straight win and to stay put on the top of the IPL at Feroz Shah Kotla here today.
Chasing a victory target of 169, KKR were tottering at 21 for 3 after 2.5 overs but daring rescue act by Pandey and Pathan changed the script and snatched a victory from the jaws of defeat by scoring 169 for 6 as the plot went horribly wrong for the hosts.
Delhi’s smugness at the crucial stage cost them the match, though there were some moments of make believe excitement at the fag end but KKR could not be denied victory which they fully deserved.
Pandey and Pathan took the Delhi bowling by the scruff of n eck and he hosts could do nothing but to watch match slipping out of their hands. They thrashed the bowlers all over the park to take score to 131 in 12 overs they were together at the crease. Pathan hit two sixes and six boundaries off 39 balls while Pandey faced 49 balls to hit three sixes and four boundaries.
After Pathan’s departure the visitors lost two more wickets but withy Pandey at the crease they romped home without much do.
This was Delhi’s second defeat in four matches while for KKR fourth win in five matches..
Earlier Zaheer Khan had no hesitation to opt for batting after he won the toss and his openers Sanju Samson and Sam Billings gave Delhi Daredevils another blistering start.
Sanju Samson made his intent clear as he hit Australian pace Nathan Coulter Nile who had come in place of Trent Boult for ten runs, incl uding two boundaries, in the very first over. On the other end Sam Billings was willing partner as he stepped p the run rate hitting Chris Woakes and Umesh Yadav with impunity.
The two took the score past 50 in exactly 5 overs and in the process earned the distinction of being involved in plus 50 run partnership in successive matches for Delhi daredevils after a gap of nine years. Way back in 2008 this sort of record was set up by Sehwag and Gambhir .
As Nile, Woakes and Yadav failed to check the flow of the runs, Gambhir turned to West Indian ‘mystery spinner Sunl Narine and the Caribbean did not disappoint his skipper as he bowled a tight over conceding only three runs.
However Nile came back into attack and this time he did not let Billings and broke the opening stand when the score was 53 when English batsmen edged his delivery to be caught behind by as Kolkata Knight Riders.
Umesh Yadav,then sent back Sanju Samson, who was also caught by wicket keeper to leave Delhi at 63 for 2. Sanju chipped in with 39 off 25 balls hitting seven boundaries.
Shreyas Iyer and Karun Nair added 43- runs came for 3rd wicket in 5.2 overs before the Iyer got run out as New Zealander Colin Grandhomme’s direct throw hit the stumps before he could cross the crease. .His 17- ball 26 included four hits to the fence. However the stnd enabled the hosts to cross the 100 run mark.
Nile claimed his second victim when he clean bowled Karun Nair (21,27 b, 1×4) to reduce delhi to 110 for 4 in 15 overs. Before that Nair had survived a chance when Uthappa dropped him off Sunil Narine.
Once again it was last five overs which saw Delhi middle order led by young Rishab Pant going on rampage as hosts added 58 runs in death overs.
Rishab plundered 26 –runs off Umesh Yadav’s fourth over to destroy his bowling stats. Before he came hard on Umesh, Pant hit Kuldeep Yadav for a towering six over long off and then came Umesh to bowl his last over which he will remember for a long time to come.
Pant hit him for maximum over mid on, then cracked a boundary and followed that with two huge sixes over backward square leg and long on and then end the over with a four. This was the most expensive over bowled by Umesh Yadav in IPL.
Nile ended Pant’s inning when hehad the batsman caught by Gambhir at point and delhi score at that stage was 153 for 6. Pant’s blistering 38 came off 16 balls and included four sixes and two boundaries.
Nile would have got his fourth wicket in the same over but Chris Morris was twice dropped-once by Umesh Yadav at long on and then by Gambhir at cover.
Woakes then ended his wicket drought by getting rid of Morris (16, 9 b, 3×4)in the last over as Delhi ended at 168 for 7.
Nile justified his inclusion claiming three wickets for 22 while Sunil Narine came up with econmcal spell of 4 overs 20 runs and a wicket. Umesh Yadav was expensive ashe finished with one wickets conceding 53 runs.
The Visitors chase started in a worst possible way. They lost their three top order batsmen in three overs . Gambhir did not go for any experiment and opened with Colin Grandhomme but the New Zealander disappointed as his stay at the crease did not even ne over. Zaheer Khan had him caught at deep square leg by Sam Bllings to make it 5 for one for the visitors.
Last ball of the second over saw KKR losing their second wicket with score reading 19 when Robin Utthapa (4) was snapped by wicket keeper Rishab Pant.
The two- time champions were in real trouble when they lost their in -form captain Gambhir (14, 12 b,2×4 )who was caught by Angelo Mathews off Zaheer Khan and scoreboard read 21 for 3 in 2.5 overs. But at that stage script changed dramatically .
Nile was declared man of the match