Pandey guides Kolkata home

Bengalurean's partnership with Pathan fetches Knight Riders fourth win

Pandey guides Kolkata home
Kolkata Knight Riders bounced back from a top-order collapse to finish a tense chase at the backyard of Delhi Daredevils in the Indian Premier League here on Monday.

Choosing to bat, Daredevils couldn’t capitalise on a flying start by Sanju Samson (39) before a late blitz by Rishabh Pant (38) carried them to 168/7. In the pursuit of the target, Kolkata were reduced to 21/3 before Manish Pandey (69 n.o.) and Yusuf Pathan (59) put 110 runs off 72 balls to lay the foundation for visitors’ four-wicket victory, their fourth in five matches.

Captain Zaheer Khan provided the breakthrough in the opening over for Daredevils when Colin de Grandhomme, opening the innings with Gautam Gambhir, holed out in deep square leg. Robin Uthappa was on his way back in the next over when wicket-keeper Pant took a spectacular catch off Pat Cummins. And Gambhir faltered in third when he edged Zaheer to point. However, Yusuf was not in a mood to oblige. He whacked the ball with brute power and his imperious form couldn’t be subdued by the Daredevils. Pandey complimented him beautifully by giving him the space, but without compromising on his attacking style.

There was no one in the Daredevils’ attack, considered among the best this season, who could escape Yusuf’s wrath. The big hitter brought his 50 by dispatching a low full toss from Zaheer to the stands. But, once he was caught and bowled by Chris Morris in the 15th over, the game opened up.

Morris and Cummins, with economical spells, tilted the momentum in Daredevils’ favour. Pandey, who raised his own half-century on way, however, kept one end firm to anchor the remainder of chase. The pressure mounted when Suryakumar Yadav was dismissed by Cummins in the 18th over and Morris gave away a mere seven runs in the 19th.

With Knight Riders needing nine from the final over, leggie Amit Mishra got Chris Woakes stumped off the second ball. However, Pandey quickly took over and with a six and two runs took Knight Riders home.

For Daredevils, Samson led the charge against the seamers in the Powerplay overs with fluent drives and smart placements. With Sam Billings, he racked up 53 runs in the Powerplay overs. However, both were caught behind in successive overs to put brakes on Daredevils’ march. Shreyas Iyer and Karun Nair stuck together for 43-run third-wicket stand but couldn’t build on the early momentum. The two departed on heels of each other -- in the 14th and 15th overs.

The shot-making had become tougher with the older ball but Pant rose above the challenge. With a short backlift and lightening bat speed, he made difficult executions look ridiculously easy. Umesh Yadav faced the brunt of his onslaught in the 17th over, where Pant, after a dot ball, whacked him for 6, 4, 6, 6, 4, to uncork 26 runs.

Pant, however, departed in the 19th over and with Morris, too, unable to stay till the last, Daredevils finished with a below-par total.

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