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)
Rohit Sharma and his Mumbai team come into the clash of on the back of a three-match winning run which has seen them topple defending champions Chennai Super Kings, last season’s runners-up Sunrisers Hyderabad and high-flying Kings XI Punjab.
After an indifferent start to their campaign which saw them lose two of their three opening fixtures, Mumbai have started to find the kind of momentum that has seen them win three IPL titles in the past.
MUMBAI ON A ROLL
A major reason for their revival has been the form of all-rounders Kieron Pollard and Hardik Pandya with the pair playing some crucial cameos with the bat down the order in recent clashes. Pollard’s 31-ball 83 was at the forefront of Mumbai’s last-gasp victory over KXIP with the side chasing down a stiff target of 198 off the very last delivery of the match.
While the form of Pollard and Pandya augurs well for Mumbai going forward, the return of Lasith Malinga from his domestic commitments will provide another boost. The veteran pacer is now back full time for the franchise after completing his Super Four Provincial One-Day tournament engagements back in Sri Lanka with Galle.
With Malinga back, Mumbai have an impressive pace arsenal at their disposal which also includes the excellent Jasprit Bumrah, Jason Behrendorrf and Alzarri Joseph.
But while Mumbai are clearly on the way up, Rajasthan on the other hand, are fast slipping into quicksand…
Kieron Pollard is back. Back at his best. Sensational batting. Great finish....— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) April 10, 2019
The 2008 winners are languishing second from bottom in the IPL standings after registering just the sole win in their six matches so far. Ajinkya Rahane and his men’s lone victory came against bottom-placed RCB while they have tasted five defeats already with the latest of them coming in the most heartbreaking of manners.
Their star all-rounder Ben Stokes failed to defend 18 runs off the final over against Chennai Super Kings on Thursday as they once again failed to close out a match which they should have won. In their five losses so far, only Kolkata Knight Riders have convincingly thrashed them while the remaining four defeats have all been close ones.
But so fine are the margins in T20 cricket that the Royals might have already waved goodbye to their chances of making it to the play-offs for a second year in a row.
It will take a miraculous run from Rajasthan in the second half of their campaign if they are to still make the top-four but they will first need their misfiring overseas contingent to rise to the occasion.
The likes of Steve Smith and Stokes have failed to really come to the party while Jos Buttler has blown hot and cold. The Royals have Ashton Turner, Liam Livingstone and Ish Sodhi still in reserve and it might now be time for them to make some changes to the playing XI if they are to reverse their fortunes.
Rajasthan Royals management needs to be ruthless in their team selections. Rahane & Steve Smith in the same T20 eleven will always drag the team back. Take come tough calls...right cricketing calls.— Sanjay Manjrekar (@sanjaymanjrekar) April 11, 2019
Mumbai skipper Rohit Sharma missed out on his side’s win over KXIP due to a muscle strain and it is likely that he could be out for the clash against Rajasthan as well.
Mumbai Indians: Quinton de Kock (wk), Siddesh Lad/Rohit Sharma, Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Rahul Chahar, Jason Behrendorrf, Lasith Malinga, Jasprit Bumrah.
Rajasthan Royals: Ajinkya Rahane (c), Jos Buttler (wk), Sanju Samson, Rahul Tripathi, Ashton Turner, Ben Stokes, Riyan Parag, Jofra Archer, Shreyas Gopal, Dhawal Kulkarni, Jaydev Unadkat.
Ravi Ashwin and his men came flying out off the blocks in the early stages of the tournament but that outstanding form is starting to dissipate in recent matches.
WHEELS COMING OFF FOR KXIP
Two defeats have come in the last three matches for KXIP with the latest of them coming at home to Mumbai Indians where the visitors smashed the required 15 runs off the final over to scale the target of 198 with the last delivery of the match.
It was the second poor bowling display from Ashwin’s men in their 2019 campaign with the other coming against Kolkata Knight Riders where they conceded 218 runs. The bowling unit has been the biggest letdown this season with the batting looking formidable.
Openers KL Rahul and Chris Gayle have rediscovered the form that made them such a fearsome proposition in the 2018 edition with both batsmen looking extremely good in the last-gasp loss to Mumbai.
Rahul now has three half-centuries and one ton in his last five appearances while Gayle’s 36-ball 63 against Mumbai was his second fifty of the campaign. With Sarfaraz Khan and Mandeep Singh also looking the part in the middle-order, it is the batting card which has seen Punjab win four of their seven games so far.
While their bowling might remain a worry, the batting will hope to impose further misery on a struggling RCB side which is yet to open its account in the 2019 edition after six straight defeats.
RCB’S PERENNIAL MISERY CONTINUES
Everything that can go wrong for Virat Kohli and men has gone wrong with the franchise’s wait for a maiden IPL title set to continue for another year at least.
There are concerns across every department in the RCB side with neither the batting or the bowling clicking so far. With the ball, only leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal has been able to hold his head high with nine wickets so far but the rest of the bowlers have disappointed big time with no total being too high to chase for the opposition.
With the bat, the star-studded cast has failed to come to the party with South African ace AB de Villiers and England all-rounder Moeen Ali failing to justify their reputations. Only skipper Kohli has been a consistent figure in the batting department with the others buckling under the pressure.
De Villiers has managed to register two half-centuries so far in the campaign but Mr. 360 has barely done anything of note in his other appearances as frustrations continues to climb for RCB fans.
KXIP fans will nervously be waiting on news regarding Gayle’s availability for the clash following his excellent knock against Mumbai. The team management had stated after the game that the West Indies opener felt a slight twitch in his back and that his fitness needed to be monitored.
Meanwhile, Mayank Agarwal could be set to return after missing out on the Mumbai clash due to a hand injury.
On the other hand, RCB have signed South African pacer Dale Steyn as a replacement for the injured Nathan Coulter-Nile but the veteran will only be available from April 16 onwards.
Kings XI Punjab: Chris Gayle, KL Rahul (wk), Sarfaraz Khan, David Miller, Mayank Agarwal, Mandeep Singh, Sam Curran, Ravi Ashwin (c), Hardus Viljoen, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Mohammed Shami.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Virat Kohli (c), Parthiv Patel (wk), AB de Villiers, Marcus Stoinis, Moeen Ali, Akshdeep Nath, Pawan Negi, Tim Southee, Yuzvendra Chahal, Umesh Yadav, Navdeep Saini.