Kolkata versus Delhi is a timeless contest. From tussling over the right to be called the capital of the British Empire in India to slogging it out on the pitch for the right to be called the champions of the IPL, two of India’s most culturally enriched cities have enjoyed a historic rivalry. The tension between the two in the IPL has generally been at fever pitch ever since Delhi boy Gautam Gambhir left his home franchise (known back then as the Delhi Daredevils) and became a Knight in 2011, before leading the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) to two IPL titles.
The head-to-head numbers are in favour of KKR, with 16 wins out of 29 for the men in purple and gold (one match was abandoned). Last season saw KKR do the double over the Delhi Capitals (DC), a feat they had achieved earlier in 2012, 2015 and 2017.
Umesh Yadav is the joint most successful bowler in the fixture, tied with, who else, but Sunil NarineBCCI
In terms of individual records, it is fitting to see Gambhir top the run-scoring charts with a combined 568 runs for both teams in this fixture. Current KKR skipper Shreyas Iyer is at a distant second with 456 runs to his credit. With the ball, both Sunil Narine and Umesh Yadav have pocketed 19 wickets each, while Andre Russell occupies second place with 13.
Before the two franchises take the field, My Kolkata refreshes your memories by revisiting three key moments from the KKR-DC encounters over the years.
Rabada sees DC through in a super over
In a game of the finest margins, Kagiso Rabada was the difference when DC and KKR clashed in March 2019BCCI
In March 2019, DC and KKR produced the most pulsating encounter in their rivalry in a game that had to be settled in a super over. Batting first at the Feroz Shah Kotla, KKR put up 185, with a solid 50 from Dinesh Karthik and a late flourish of 62 off just 28 balls by Russell. In pursuit, DC’s pocket dynamo Prithvi Shaw went on a roll, falling one run short of one of the best IPL centuries. But DC stuttered late and could only match KKR’s score. In the super over, DC managed only 10, but with Kagiso Rabada firing in his yorkers, 10 proved three too many for KKR. Rabada’s inspired spell, which saw him knock over Russell’s middle stump, became one of the highlights of that IPL.
KKR’s perfect outing at the Eden
KKR outplayed Delhi in all departments to register a resounding victory at the Eden in 2016, with veteran Brad Hogg pulling the stringsBCCI
In 2016, the Daredevils arrived at the Eden Gardens desperate to overturn their string of defeats against KKR. But a largely inexperienced batting line up fell apart for just 98, with Russell and chinaman bowler Brad Hogg grabbing three wickets each. Aiming to up their net run rate, KKR showed no mercy in their chase, polishing off the runs required with almost six overs to spare. Robin Uthappa and Gambhir got composed thirties before Manish Pandey applied the finishing touch at number three to round off KKR’s most dominant display against the team from the Capital.
Unplayable Shoaib Akhtar downs Delhi in style
It was the Shoaib Akhtar show that set the Eden alight when the two teams met for the first time in Kolkata in 2008BCCI
For the final throwback moment between Kolkata and Delhi, we dial back to the inaugural edition of the IPL in 2008 and a match that initially appeared in danger of getting washed out because of torrential rain in Kolkata. But once the rain gods relented, one Knight came to the fore with a performance so relentless that an ecstatic Shah Rukh Khan could not stop embracing him after the game. Chasing KKR’s apparently modest total of 133, which would not have been possible without a gutsy 33 from Salman Butt (yes, he used to play for KKR once upon a time!), Delhi were firm favourites. Till Shoaib Akhtar started steaming in. Virender Sehwag was caught behind off the second ball of the innings, kick-starting Akhtar’s decimation of Delhi’s top order. The Pakistani speedster finished with figures of four for 11 in three overs, the most electrifying fast bowling this fixture has seen.