Cricket / Supplants Delhi Daredevils at the top of the table
Gautam Gambhir must have thanked his stars and his fellow Kolkata Knight Riders players after his team beat Delhi Daredevils by six wickets in the grudge match on Monday.
Gambhir was privileged not to experience the fate of Sourav Ganguly, who had led Pune Warriors in the defeat at the Eden Gardens the other night. The Delhi boy, wearing aggression on his sleeves, silenced the crowd of his own city as KKR, with 17 points from 12 outings, toppled Daredevils from the top of the Indian Premier League (IPL) table.
Daredevils, which could not defend its total of 153 for nine, tasted its first loss after four consecutive wins.
Daredevils, opting to bat, experienced a different journey against a team which had three Delhi players in its ranks. The much vaunted top-order of the home team stuttered against KKR, which rode on Jaques Kallis' skilful seam bowling to earn vital wickets at right times.
Virender Sehwag (23) and his new opening partner David Warner (21) gave the host a rollicking start even though Brett Lee began with an impressive maiden over.
Sehwag sent the ball to the cover boundary despite mistiming a Pradeep Sangwan delivery. That was an aberration. In the same over, the Daredevils captain slammed a four past point and flicked one over midwicket for a six to show his top form with the bat.
Warner, who belted Lee for a six and a sparkling four on the off-side, also joined the party as Daredevils, which gathered 50 runs off the first six overs, nurtured the ambition of setting up another monumental total.
However, KKR captain Gambhir had other ideas. He brought Kallis on and the South African mixed the deliveries, varying the length, with command to remove the Daredevils' openers.
Sehwag pulled Kallis to the square leg boundary for a four before being trapped in front in the next ball. Warner also hit Kallis to the boundary and fell in the next delivery.
Mahela Jayawardene's stay in the middle was eventful. The Sri Lankan captain had a heated exchange with Gambhir after a strong appeal for caught behind by Kallis did not bear any fruit.
Jayawardene, later dropped on eight by McCullum off Kallis, gave a determined performance before being run out by a diving throw from Gambhir. The KKR skipper had reason to celebrate.
Irfan Pathan resorted to some clean hitting to enable Daredevils reach a respectable total.
In reply, KKR had a smooth start as Gambhir (36) and Brendon McCullum (56) collected runs at a brisk pace. Gambhir, who thrashed Shahbaz Nadeem for two fours and a six in an over, got his runs on both sides of the wicket
McCullum switched gears according to situation and played some entertaining strokes to reach his first half-century.
After Gambhir was played on off a 147km-plus Varun Aaron delivery, McCullum carried on with responsibility and added 60 valuable runs with Kallis for the second wicket.
Umesh Yadav claimed Kallis and McCullum in similar fashion in back-to-back deliveries. However, the attempt for a fightback came too late for the home side, which fielded poorly and did not show any urgency.
Delhi Daredevils: D. Warner c McCullum b Kallis 21 (19b, 2x4, 1x6) , V. Sehwag lbw b Kallis 23 (9b, 3x4, 1x6) , M. Jayawardene (run out) 30 (27b, 3x4, 1x6) , R. Taylor c Bhatia b Sangwan 16 (27b) , Irfan st. McCullum b Narine 36 (22b, 4x4, 1x6) , Y. Nagar b Lee 10 (7b, 1x4) , N. Ojha c Tiwary b Narine 2 (6b) , M. Morkel (run out) 0 (0b) , S. Nadeem (not out) 0 (2b) , V. Aaron (run out) 1 (1b); Extras (b-1, lb-2, wd-11): 14; Total (for nine wkts in 20 overs): 153.
Fall of wickets: 1-40 (Sehwag), 2-49 (Warner), 3-95 (Jayawardene), 4-100 (Taylor), 5-125 (Nagar), 6-146 (Ojha), 7-152 (Pathan), 8-152 (Morkel), 9-153 (Aaron).
Kolkata Knight Riders bowling: Lee 4-0-39-1, Sangwan 4-0-42-1, Kallis 4-0-20-2, Narine 4-0-23-2, Bhatia 4-0-26-0.
Kolkata Knight Riders: B. McCullum c Sehwag b Umesh 56 (44b, 7x4) , G. Gambhir b Aaron 36 (21b, 4x4, 1x6) , J. Kallis c Ojha b Umesh 30 (27b, 2x4) , M. Tiwary c Irfan b Morkel 8 (6b) , Yusuf (not out) 7 (11b) , D. Das (not out) 1 (3b) ; Extras (b-4, lb-5, w-7): 16; Total (for four wkts. in 18.4 overs): 154.
Fall of wickets: 1-68 (Gambhir), 2-128 (Kallis), 3-128 (McCullum), 4-147 (Tiwary).
Delhi Daredevils bowling: Irfan 3-0-28-0, Nadeem 4-0-32-0, Morkel 4-0-35-1, Umesh 4-0-30-2, Aaron 3.4-0-20-1.
Man-of-the-match: J. Kallis.