Having been sent into bat first, Kolkata were able to muster 178-7 in their 20 overs before they saw Dhawan make a mockery of that total to take Delhi to a victory with seven balls still to spare.
The seven-wicket win not only helped the young Delhi side complete the double over KKR but it also propelled them into the top-four of the league table. It was also their first win at Eden Gardens since 2012.
GILL STANDS TALL AS RUSSELL REVELS
Joe Denly’s IPL debut ended with a golden duck as the England all-rounder’s stumps sent tumbling by Ishant Sharma off the very first delivery. However, Kolkata recovered quickly from that opening blow with a fine innings from young Shubman Gill.
The promising youngster had been subdued previously but he looked in excellent touch from the very start against Delhi in a stirring innings that culminated in a 34-ball half-century. The right-hander struck two sixes and seven boundaries in a 39-ball stay that fetched him 63 runs before Andre Russell took control at the middle.
The Windies all-rounder registered his sixth consecutive score of 40 plus as he added four more sixes to his burgeoning tournament tally. Russell’s 21-ball 45 and Gill’s second IPL fifty was the driving force behind Kolkata’s charge with the bat, which pattered out ultimately towards the end.
Shubman Gill...... 👀 .... What a future !! #IPL2019— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) April 12, 2019
DELHI REEL IT IN AFTER RUSSELL CHARGE
With Russell smashing the ball to all parts of the ground again in typical brute fashion, a score of over 200 seemed to be on the cards for KKR at one point. However, the visitors fought back in the latter overs with some important wickets that took the sting out of Kolkata’s attack.
It all started with the dismissal of Gill in the 15th over with the youngster’s sweetly struck shot going straight into the hands of Hershal Patel. Then, Chris Morris ended Russell’s stay in the next over with a wide full-toss which the Windies man could only smash into Kagiso Rabada’s hands in the deep.
Rabada then struck with the ball himself to dismiss the dangerous Dinesh Karthik cheaply while Carlos Brathwaite was unable to impress with the bat in his first outing of the season. Those late wickets cost the hosts probably around 15 to 20 runs and that proved to be their undoing in the end.
DHAWAN’S EXPERIENCE COMES TO THE FORE
Although slightly under par, a chase of 178 was not going to be a straightforward one for Delhi but veteran Dhawan made it look like a walk in the park in the end.
The experienced opener produced his best-ever IPL display with an unbeaten knock of 97 (63) that completely deflated Kolkata’s strong bowling attack.
Young Prithvi Shaw and Shreyas Iyer had very brief stays at the crease but Dhawan was seeing the ball like a football at the other end with his blade doing all the talking. The left-hander found the ideal foil in Rishabh Pant and the duo stitched together a 105-run stand in no time to all but seal victory for Delhi.
Pant departed after an entertaining 31-ball 46 but Dhawan would not be tied down with the opener continuing to belt out the boundaries at will. Dhawan was unlucky to be left stranded three runs short of a maiden IPL ton as Colin Ingram finished off the match in the penultimate over with a fine six.
Shikhar Dhawan's innings today isn't just a shot in the arm for #DelhiCapitals. It bodes well for India too. He needed the runs.— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) April 12, 2019
Kolkata Knight Riders: 178-7
Shubman Gill: 63 (39)
Andre Russell: 45 (21)
Delhi Capitals: 180-3
Shikhar Dhawan: 97 not out (63)
Rishabh Pant: 46 (31)
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