Kolkata cruise to victory

Uthappa, Gambhir notch fifties in seven-wicket win over Delhi

Kolkata cruise to victory

 Skipper Gautam Gambhir and Robin Uthappa’s brilliant performances with the bat handed Kolkata Knight Riders’ a seven-wicket win over Delhi Daredevils and pushed them on the verge of elimination in the Indian Premier League.

This was Delhi’s fourth loss on the trot.Chasing a modest 161, KKR were nine for one in the second over, but Uthappa (59 from 33 balls) and Gambhir put together a 108-run partnership off just 66 balls to lay the foundation.

After Uthappa was run out, Gambhir held fort and led the team from the front with an unbeaten 71 from 52 balls (11x4) to complete the chase with 22 balls to spare. He also completed 6000 runs in T20 cricket.

This was their fourth century partnership while chasing in IPL — the most by any pair going past David Warner and Shikhar Dhawan’s three. KKR haven’t lost while chasing at Eden Gardens since IPL 2012.

KKR (14 points) have one foot in the play-off with seven wins from nine matches, while DD’s campaign is all but over following a four-match losing streak to languish at the bottom of the table with four points from seven matches.

Making a mess

If Delhi batsmen made a mess of their spectacular start, their fielders added to their woes as Gambhir and Uthappa went about their chase in a professional manner. Uthappa made full use of a reprieve on nine and he overcame a niggle on his left leg to lead the charge, smashing a 24-ball half-century, his fourth from nine games this season. Three Delhi fielders — Amit Mishra, Sanju Samson and wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant — rushed to take an Uthappa skier in between short fine leg and square leg but in the end none of the three took it.

Fresh from his match-winning 87 against Rising Pune Supergiant, Uthappa began from where he had left in Pune.

He was at his furious best against Chris Morris and hammered him for six, four, six in an exceptional show of might. In the next over he hit Pat Cummins for a six and a four.

Making a comeback in place of Darren Bravo, Nathan Coulter-Nile (3/34) led a KKR fightback to restrict Delhi Daredevils to a below-par 160 for six after they were 41 without loss in four overs.

Put in to bat, Delhi were 41 for no loss from four overs, but Sunil Narine’s first-over breakthrough stymied their run-flow before Nathan Coulter-Nile produced some excellent bowling.

Delhi clearly lost their way at the death as they managed only 29 in the last five overs and lost four wickets. Sanju Samson (60, 38b, 4x4, 3x6) and Shreyas Iyer (47, 34b, 4x4, 1x6) gave them a solid start but their run-rate slipped as KKR fought back through Coulter-Nile.

Score board

DELHI DAREDEVILS: Sanju Samson lbw Umesh 60, Karun Nair lbw Narine 15, Shreyas Iyer lbw Coulter-Nile 47, Rishabh Pant lbw Coulter-Nile 6, Chris Morris c Woakes b Coulter-Nile 11, Corey Anderson (run out) 2, Ankit Bawne (not out) 12, Pat Cummins (not out) 0. Extras (LB-1, W-6) 7. Total (for 6 wkts; 20 overs) 160.
Fall of wickets: 1-48, 2-123, 3-131, 4-140, 5-146, 6-159.

Bowling: Coulter-Nile 4-0-34-3, Umesh Yadav 4-0-38-1, Chris Woakes 3-0-20-0, Sunil Narine 4-0-25-1, Kuldeep Yadav 4-0-27-0, Colin de Grandhomme 1-0-15-0.

KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS: Sunil Narine b Rabada 4, Gautam Gambhir (not out) 71, Robin Uthappa (run out) 59,  Manish Pandey b Rabada 5, Sheldon Jackson (not out) 12. Extras (B-4, LB-5, W-1) 10. Total (for 3 wkts; 16.2 overs) 161.

Fall of wickets: 1-9, 2-117, 3-139.
Bowling: Zaheer Khan 1.1-0-8-0, Kagiso Rabada 3.2-0-20-2, Corey Anderson 2.5-0-27-0, Chris Morris 3-0-39-0, Pat Cummins 3-0-22-0, Amit Mishra 3-0-36-0. 

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