A century partnership between Gautam Gambhir and Robin Uthappa saw the Kolkata Knight Riders get the better of Delhi Daredevils by seven wickets at Eden Gardens on Friday.
Chasing a target of 161, Sunil Narine – for once – could not get Kolkata off to a blazing start as he was dismissed for just four by Kagiso Rabada.
The early wicket brought Gambhir and Uthappa, who had put on a 158-run partnership in the previous match against Rising Pune Supergiant, together at the crease and the duo looked in fine touch once again.
Uthappa, just like in his previous innings, had a lucky reprieve early on as confusion between Amit Mishra and Sanju Samson saw neither going for an easy catch. The 31-year-old was on nine at the time and would go on to score 59 from just 33 balls in a knock which included five fours and four sixes.
At the other end, Gambhir continued his own superb run of form in this season’s IPL. The KKR captain initially took his time and played a supporting role to Uthappa, before taking on the bowlers later in his innings.
With an unbeaten 52-ball 71, the Orange Cap has returned to Gambhir for being the leading run-scorer in this season’s IPL.
Rabada was easily the most impressive of the Delhi bowlers, picking up two wickets and conceding just 20 runs in 3.2 overs.
Earlier, after being put into bat, Delhi opener Sanju Samson got the visitors off to a quick start as they raced to 41-0 in the first four overs. Narine put the breaks on the scoring though, dismissing Karun Nair for 15 in his first over.
Nair’s below-par season continues as he has failed to score a single half-century in the ongoing tournament and has a lowly strike-rate of 88.63.
Shreyas Iyer joined hands with Samson, and the young duo set the platform for the Daredevils with a 75-run partnership for the second wicket before the latter was dismissed for a well-made 60 [from 38 balls].
Iyer would fall just three runs short of a fifty, after which Delhi struggled to get the boundaries away. In fact, in the last five overs of their innings, the away side managed just 29 runs which ultimately cost them the match.
Nathan Coulter-Nile was the star for Kolkata yet again, picking up three wickets in an innings for the third time in just four matches this season.
Speaking after the match, Gambhir said: “We still have a long way to go. Obviously, so far, most of the boxes have been ticked but then it’s that kind of format and tournament that we can’t be complacent because once you lose momentum, it’s very difficult to get it back.”
With this win, Kolkata consolidate their position at the top of the table as they now have 14 points from nine games. On the other hand, Delhi are still rooted to the last spot with just four points from seven matches.
Delhi Daredevils 160-6, 20 overs [Samson 60, Iyer 47, Coulter-Nile 3-34] lost to Kolkata Knight Riders 161-3, 16.2 overs [Gambhir 71*, Uthappa 59, Rabada 2-20] by seven wickets.
Player of the Match – Gautam Gambhir