Sharjah: Shreyas Iyer played a captain’s knock — 88 not out off 38 balls — to guide Delhi Capitals (DC) to a thrilling 18-run win, but not before Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) gave them some anxious moments towards the end of the 16th IPL game on Saturday night.
Shreyas was adjudged the Man of the Match, and the win lifted DC to the top of the points table. They now have six points from four matches while KKR are placed sixth with four points from four games.
Despite some explosive batting by Eoin Morgan (44 off 18) and Rahul Tripathi (36 off 16) towards the end of the KKR innings, they failed to overhaul the massive 229-run target as the two-time champions fell short of the target.
Earlier, KKR won the toss and opted to bowl. Besides Shreyas, opener Prithvi Shaw scored a half-century (66 off 41 balls) and Rishabh Pant hammered a 17-ball 38 to take their team to 228 for four wickets in 20 overs. In reply, KKR made 210 for eight wickets in 20 overs, after once threatening to run away with the game. Nitish Rana was their top scorer with 58 off 35 balls and Eoin Morgan smashed 44 off 18 balls, but in vain.
Chasing the target, KKR opener Sunil Narine once again failed to fire as he fell cheaply after managing just three runs. Shubhman Gill (28) and Rana then took command of the proceedings as they took their side past the 50-run mark in 5.2 overs.
Just when everything was going KKR’s way, Amit Mishra dismissed Gill in the ninth over with KKR scorecard reading 72/2. Andre Russell (13), too, didn’t spend much time in the middle and KKR were reduced to 94/3 in 9.5 overs.
Rana continued to keep the fight on, but he couldn’t convert it as Harshal Patel dismissed him in the 13th over. Rana’s innings contained four boundaries and as many sixes.
Within five runs, KKR lost their skipper Dinesh Karthik (6) and Pat Cummins (5), and DC strengthening their grip on the contest. The fall of Cummis left KKR reeling at 122/6.
There was, however, another twist in the story as Tripathi and Morgan added 78 runs in the next 31 balls, courtesy some massive hits into the stands, which saw KKR making a comeback in the match.
Anrich Nortje, however, didn’t let the KKR duo succeed as he dismissed a dangerous-looking Morgan in the 19th over before Marcus Stoinis, who bowled an exceptional final over, accounted for the wicket of Tripathi with a toe-crushing yorker.
Despite the phenomenal batting by Morgan and Tripathi, KKR failed to cross the line by 18 runs.
For DC, Nortje was the wrecker-in-chief as he returned with figures of 3/33 while Patel bagged 2/34.
Earlier, opener Prithvi Shaw’s blistering 66 followed by Shreyas’s (unbeaten 88 off 38) carnage propelled DC to a mammoth 228/4 in the allotted 20 overs.
Apart from the duo, DC stumper Rishabh Pant also took full advantage of the short boundaries as he blasted 38 off 17 balls with the help of five boundaries and a six.
DC were off to a flying start, thanks to openers Shikhar Dhawan (26) and Shaw, who made sure that their side crosses the 50-run mark in just 4.4 overs.
However, while trying to go for a maximum, Dhawan became a victim of Varun Chakravarthy in the sixth over with DC being on 56/1.
The dismissal didn’t affect DC much as incoming batter and Shaw kept going at a decent pace.
The duo steered their side to the three-digit mark in the 11th over before Shaw was packed back by Kamlesh Nagarkoti in the 13th over.
Shaw’s knock contained four boundaries and as many sixes.
Iyer and Pant then added 72 runs in the next 31 balls as they clobbered every KKR bowler who came in their way.
Andre Russell, finally, gave KKR some respite as he accounted for the wicket of Pant in the 18th over, which saw DC’s scorecard reading 201/3.
Iyer, on other hand, kept his lusty blows going before Russell struck again, this time in the final over to send back Marcus Stoinis (1). However, the damage was already done as DC posted a challenging target before their opponents with ease.
Iyer’s sparkling innings was decorated with seven fours and six massive hits into the stands.
Brief scores: Delhi Capitals 228/4 wkts in 20 overs (Shreyas Iyer 88 not out, Prithvi Shaw 66; Andre Russell 2/29) beat Kolkata Knight Riders 210/8 wkts in 20 overs (Nitish Rana 58, Eoin Morgan 44; Anrich Nortje 3/33) by 18 runs.