After a fine performance from the bowlers, Nitish Rana’s combative innings kept Kolkata Knight Riders’ hopes alive of a place in the Indian Premier League by defeating Delhi Capitals by three wickets in the Indian Premier League on Tuesday. After this defeat, Delhi’s winning streak of four consecutive wins has also been broken. Chasing Delhi’s target of 128 runs, Knight Riders hit Nitish Rana (36 not out in 27 balls, two fours, two sixes), Shubman Gill (30) and Sunil Narine (21 runs in 10 balls, two sixes, one four). He scored 130 runs for seven wickets in 18.2 overs. For Delhi, fast bowler Avesh Khan took three wickets for 13 runs but could not get his team to win.
With this win, Knight Riders have 10 points from five wins in 11 matches and the team is in fourth place. Delhi have 16 points from eight wins in 11 matches and are in second place. Chennai Super Kings also have 16 points, but they are on top due to better run rate, while they have played one match less than Delhi. Delhi’s team could only manage 127 for nine in front of the sharp bowling of Lockie Ferguson (2 for 10), Sunil Narine (2 for 18) and Venkatesh Iyer (2 for 29). Captain Rishabh Pant (39), Steve Smith (39) and Shikhar Dhawan (24) were able to bat for Delhi.
In front of the accurate bowling of Knight Riders, Delhi’s team could only collect 54 runs in the last nine overs. Knight Riders got off to a brisk start chasing the target. Venkesh (14) opened the account with two consecutive fours in the first over from Anrich Nortje while Gill welcomed Axar Patel with a six. Venkesh, however, after spending enough time on the wicket, was bowled by Lalit Yadav in the fifth over. Rahul Tripathi (09) opened the account with a six off Lalit’s first ball but Avesh got him caught by Smith. Knight Riders scored 44 for two in the powerplay.
Gill hit his second six on Ravichandran Ashwin and took the team’s score past 50 runs in the seventh over. Gill and Rana preferred to rotate the strike and did not take unnecessary risks. Kagiso Rabada, however, bowled the 11th over maiden and also gave Gill a catch at the hands of Shreyas, raising hopes of a comeback for Delhi. Captain Eoin Morgan’s poor form continued and he was caught by Lalit off Ashwin’s delivery without opening the account. Rana took the pressure off off-spinner Lalit with two consecutive sixes. Dinesh Karthik also hit fours on Rabada and Lalit.
Avesh bowls Karthik on a slow ball. Karthik scored 12 runs. Knight Riders needed 30 runs to win in the last five overs. Narine added 21 runs in the 16th over with two sixes and a four off consecutive balls from Rabada to take the Knight Riders to the threshold of victory. Knight Riders needed nine runs from the last four overs. Nortje conceded just three runs in the 17th over while Narayan was caught by Axar. Four runs came off Avesh’s next over, while Tim Southee (03) returned. Knight Riders needed two runs in the last two overs and Rana hit a four on Nortje to give the Knight Riders victory.
Earlier, opting to bat after losing the toss, Smith and Dhawan gave a cautious start to the Delhi team. Dhawan, playing the first match of the current season, opened the account with a four on Sandeep Warrier and then hit two consecutive fours in the next over of this fast bowler. Dhawan also hit two fours on Tim Southee but was caught by Venkatesh at cover point off Ferguson. Dhawan hit five fours in his 20-ball innings. Delhi scored 39 for one wicket in the powerplay. Shreyas Iyer was bowled by Narayan after scoring just one run. Smith increased the run rate with two consecutive fours on Varun Chakraborty and then also hit a four on Narine. He, however, played on the shot wickets in an attempt to hit Ferguson hard. He hit four fours while facing 34 balls.
Venkatesh then caught Shimron Hetmyer (04) at the hands of Southee. In the next over, Narayan dismissed Lalit Yadav (00) lbw, while Venkatesh showed Axar Patel (00) the way to the pavilion. Delhi lost three wickets within four runs, taking their score to 92 for six. Delhi’s century of runs was completed in the 17th over. Pant held on to one end but failed to increase the run rate by playing big shots. He was run out in the last over. He hit three fours while facing 36 balls.