Shreyas leads from the front

Shreyas Iyer stroked an imposing 93 not out on captaincy debut and spearheaded Delhi Daredevils to a morale-boosting 55-run win over Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League.

Shreyas Iyer stroked an imposing 93 not out on captaincy debut and spearheaded Delhi Daredevils to a morale-boosting 55-run win over Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League on Friday.

The 23-year old replaced Gautam Gambhir as the new captain of the beleaguered franchise that had lost five out of their six matches to hug the bottom of the table. And if a change of guard was what they needed, they seemed to have made the right move.

For Iyer showed the appetite and temperament to embrace the responsibility through a splendid knock under pressure. With Gambhir expectedly dropped and replaced by Colin Munro, the 23-year-old Iyer brought his best with a 40-ball innings (3x4, 10x6) to prop Daredevils to a challenging 219/4.

The KKR chase crumbled to 164/9 as Daredevils made early inroads. Once Glenn Maxwell got Chris Lynn chopping on in the second over, the Kolkata top order folded in.

Trent Boult and Avesh Khan struck in tandem to leave them at precarious 51/4 during the powerplay.

Andre Russell and Shubman Gill kept Kolkata afloat during their 64 runs stand for the sixth wicket but once the Indian was run out in the 16th over, Daredevils tightened the grip. Russell was bowled by Khan in the 18th over and Daredevils galloped unhindered to a much-needed victory.

Handed the first strike, the hosts raced through the powerplay, courtesy the new opening combination of Colin Munro and Prithvi Shaw.

Spin trio overwhelmed

The two overwhelmed the spin trio of KKR, wrist-spinners Piyush Chawla, Kuldeep Yadav and offie Sunil Narine to rustle up 57 runs in the first six overs, their highest of the season. It was just the start which was missing from Daredevils scoreboards off late. If Munro launched the attack, 18-year-old Shaw didn’t lag behind, bringing the packed stadium to its feet.

Shaw strung a plucky inning. The diminutive teenager fearlessly played the likes of Mitchell Johnson and delighted with his compact and fluent strokeplay. He played brilliantly through the lines, and even though Munro was yorked by Shivam Mavi in the seventh over, there was no stopping Shaw.

In the company of Iyer, Shaw took the lead and raised a 38-ball half century before misreading Chawla and getting bowled.

It was now time for Iyer to announce his arrival and he did that with an enviable composure. On the other end, Rishabh Pant was done in by a Russell bouncer for a golden duck, but Glenn Maxwell stuck on.

With Iyer taking the charge, the duo added quick 73 runs for the fourth wicket and ripped the KKR bowling with such vehemence that the last five overs bled 79 runs! And though Maxwell departed in the penultimate over, the morale of the bowlers was broken to such an extent that in the last over Mavi ended up splurging 29 runs, with four sixes, one boundary and one wide ball.

All hit by a belligerent Iyer, who incidentally was dropped twice, and made Kolkata pay dearly for it.

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Shreyas leads from the front

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