x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Delhi Daredevils cruise past Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL

Morne Morkel the hero as Daredevils start campaign in winning fashion in rain-shortened match following rain delay.

Delhi Daredevils had plenty to celebrate as they defeated the Kolkata Knight Riders.
Delhi Daredevils had plenty to celebrate as they defeated the Kolkata Knight Riders.

Finishing at the bottom of the IPL last year, the Delhi Daredevils started season five with a comfortable eight-wicket over the Kolkata Knight Riders in a rain-curtailed match at a packed Eden Gardens on Thursday night.

The match was reduced to 12-overs-a-side following a heavy Kolkata downpour that delayed the start by two and a half overs. The home fans, who had waited patiently through the stoppage, had little to cheer as Morne Morkel tore through the Knight Riders’ top order with a three-wicket haul and they were restricted to 97 for nine.

Virender Sehwag (20) and Aaron Finch (30) then got the chase off to a measured start with a 49-run partnership for the opening wicket, and the Daredevils reached their target in 11.1 overs with Irfan Pathan (42 not out from 20 balls) taking them across the finish line.

The manner of their win should give the Daredevils a major boost, especially since the likes of David Warner, Ross Taylor, Kevin Pietersen and Mahela Jayawardene are still to join the squad. They will face a problem of plenty once those stars arrive as only four foreigners can make the playing XI.

The Knight Riders, on the other hand, will have to rethink their team composition or even their strategy, for last night, most commentators seemed a tad surprised to see Jacques Kallis walk in to open the innings alongside Brendon McCullum. Yusuf Pathan would have been most people’s favourite for the job and the South African’s early dismissal justified those views.

Kallis was castled by compatriot Morkel for four, but he was not the first KKR batsman back in the pavilion. McCullum (9) was earlier caught lbw by Roelof van der Merwe as he went for a wild swing on the leg.

Pathan kept sitting in the dugout even after Kallis’s dismissal, but he did come out after Morkel’s first ball dismissal of Manoj Tiwary. Pathan managed to deny Morkel a hat-trick, but was caught behind for nought in the next over by Umesh Yadav and the hosts were four down for 31 in four overs.

An entertaining 17-ball 26 from Laxmi Ratan Shukla, however, allowed Kolkata to post a competitive score, but Irfan Pathan’s blistering innings, which included three sixes, made it a comfortable finish for Delhi.

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