Delhi Daredevils sneaked home with three balls to spare as it defeated Kolkata Knight Riders in a cliff-hanger at the Dubai International Cricket stadium here on Saturday night.

Guiding the team to victory was the slightly built J-P. Duminy with an unconquered 52 (35b, 3x4, 3x6), shepherded earlier by Dinesh Karthik’s 40-ball 56.

Morne Morkel had breathed fire, his pace breaching the 145 kmph mark. When Mayank Agarwal parried a short delivery from the lanky South African, it only flew to Piyush Chawla at square-leg.

If Jacques Kallis failed with the bat on a day racked by several top-order ducks, he came good with the ball, bowling Ross Taylor neck and crop. Karthik then took on the duty of directing Delhi’s fortunes, forearms tautened for a short-arm pull to clout Chawla over the long-leg ropes.

The hundred came in just over a dozen overs, the scoring by now down to a trickle. One lofted punch to the off-side from the skipper saw the sphere bounce but once before taking a rabbit hop into the fence.

One rash stroke signalled Karthik’s end, his attempted reverse sweep off Narine thudding into his pads. Manoj Tiwary’s ambitions to square-cut Morkel ballooned to third man Sunil Narine.

With their backs to the wall, James Neesham heaved Chawla over long-off and Duminy then clattered compatriot Morkel over the square and fine-leg hoardings off successive deliveries. Neesham pulled Chawla to mid-wicket with six needed for victory in as many balls. Duminy duly delivered with another big one over backward of square.

The Knight Riders, bringing in Nathan Coulter-Nile and Jaydev Unadkat for Wayne Parnell and Rahul Sharma, preferred to bat. The pacey pair of Mohammad Shami and Coulter-Nile gave a rousing start, removing openers Jacques Kallis and Gautam Gambhir in the first two overs. Kallis prodded a ball moving away to lone slip fielder Ross Taylor. Gambhir’s flick off Coulter-Nile went to the waiting hands of Duminy.

Manish Pandey and Robin Uthappa then steered the Knight Riders to 63 for two, halfway through its innings. Pandey pulled Nadeem to mid-wicket but misread the line soon after.

Shakib Al Hasan struck a six but Uthappa dominated the strike, feasting on the attack for half a dozen boundaries and a six in a 41-ball stay. Shakib continued the good work but couldn’t quite match Uthappa’s tempo. Nonetheless, his unbeaten 30 did come in handy.

Scoreboard

Kolkata Knight Riders: J. Kallis c Taylor b Shami 0 (1b), G. Gambhir c Duminy b Coulter-Nile 0 (4b), M. Pandey b Nadeem 48 (42b, 5x4), R. Uthappa c Taylor b Unadkat 55 (41b, 6x4, 1x6), Shakib (not out) 30 (22b, 2x4, 1x6), Yusuf b Coulter-Nile 11 (8b, 1x4), S. Yadav (not out) 8 (3b, 2x4); Extras (lb-1, w-12, nb-1): 14; Total (for five wkts. in 20 overs): 166.

Fall of wickets: 1-1 (Kallis), 2-11 (Gambhir), 3-75 (Pandey), 4-132 (Uthappa), 5-157 (Yusuf).

Delhi Daredevils bowling: Shami 4-0-33-1, Coulter-Nile 4-0-27-2, Unadkat 4-0-25-1, Neesham 2-0-26-0, Nadeem 3-0-29-1, Duminy 3-0-25-0.

Delhi Daredevils: M. Vijay run out 0 (2b), M. Agarwal c Chawla b M. Morkel 26 (14b, 3x4), D. Karthik lbw b Narine 56 (40b, 5x4, 2x6), R. Taylor b Kallis 6 (9b, 1x4), J-P Duminy (not out) 52 (35b, 3x4, 3x6), M. Tiwary c Narine b M. Morkel 8 (6b, 1x4), J. Neesham c Yusuf b Chawla 8 (11b, 1x6), N. Coulter-Nile (not out) 0 (0b); Extras (lb-6, w-5): 11; Total (for six wkts. in 19.3 overs): 167.

Fall of wickets: 1-10 (Vijay), 2-39 (Agarwal), 3-60 (Taylor), 4-118 (Karthik), 5-127 (Tiwary), 6-161 (Neesham).

Kolkata Knight Riders bowling: Vinay 4-0-35-0, M. Morkel 4-0-41-2, Shakib 3-0-25-0, Kallis 2-0-15-1, Chawla 2.3-0-27-1, Narine 4-0-18-1.

Man-of-the-match: Duminy.