Young batsman Karun Nair and debutant Sam Billings batted with lot of responsibility before their bowlers came good as Delhi Daredevils displaced Kolkata Knight Riders from the second spot with a comfortable 27-run win in their IPL match, in New Delhi on Saturday.
The hosts overcame loss of two wickets in the first over to post a challenging 186 for eight after being invited to bat and skittled out the visitors for 159 with nine balls to spare at the Feroz Shah Kotla ground.
Thanks to fighting half-centuries by Nair (68 off 50 balls) and Billings (54 off 34 balls) combined with Carlos Brathwaite’s (34 off 11) finishing touches, Daredevils’ innings shaped well as they registered their best total against KKR.
Brathwaite also took three wickets when Daredevils bowled as the West Indian broke the KKR middle order.
It was first defeat for KKR in this tournament while chasing as except opener Robin Uthappa (72 off 52) no other batsman showed resistance.
Both Nair and Billings impressed with their batting as they desisted from swinging the bat wildly, playing proper cricketing shots. They were comfortable against both pacers and spinners, building the innings with smart cricket.
Braithwaite played true to his big-hitting reputation by smashing 34 with three sixes and as many fours to ensure that the hosts end with a bang.
KKR had packed their attack with three spinners but they could not make an impression. Only Brad Hogg completed his quota of four overs and combined with Sunil Narine and Piyush Chawla, the trio conceded 85 runs in nine over.
Andre Russell was the most impressive KKR bowler with figures of 4-0-26-3 while Umesh Yadav (3\33) also picked three wickets.
Zaheer Khan did exactly what he was expected to do after not-so-great performance in the previous matches by bowling with a lot of venom and taking two early wickets.
He had rival skipper Gautam Gambhir (6) caught off a leading edge at covers and trapped Piyush Chawla (8), who was promoted up the order.
The wickets had an effect on KKR’s run-rate as they managed 43 in the six Power-play overs. In the sixth over a dog sneaked into the ground and struggled to find his way out, much to the amusement of players and fans.
Opener Robin Uthappa was keeping one end tight but Yusuf Pathan (10) started his walk back to dug out when he handed an easy catch to Amit Mishra off Braithwaite.
In came Suryakumar Yadav and with Uthappa he took KKR to 88 for three in 10 overs with team requiring 99 more in last 10 overs.