For both Kuldeep Yadav and Shreyas Iyer, it was about making a statement against their former teams. But though Kolkata Knight Riders captain Shreyas batted well, Delhi Capitals’ Kuldeep had the last laugh, spinning a web around his former side.
Shreyas (54), a former Delhi Capitals skipper, did well to lead the Knight Riders’ run chase for some time, but both he and his team were undone by the brilliance of Kuldeep (4/35).
As a result, a charged-up Capitals recorded a comprehensive 44-run win at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai on Sunday.
Put in to bat, the Capitals made fantastic use of ideal batting conditions and the small ground to post a massive total of 215 for 5. Thereafter, left-arm quick Khaleel Ahmed (3/25), brought back in place of Anrich Nortje, and Kuldeep’s fine use of the flight helped bowl the Knights out for 171 in 19.4 overs.
It certainly was a timely win for the Capitals, especially after suffering back-to-back losses following a victory over Mumbai Indians in their opener. They now have four points, while the Knight Riders remain on six.
Left-arm chinaman Kuldeep, trying to revive his career in this IPL, got his first scalp when he bowled a superb wrong ’un that foxed Shreyas immediately after the latter had launched him over deep mid-wicket.
Then came that game-determining 16th over of the Knights’ reply, when Kuldeep struck thrice in four balls — first dismissing Pat Cummins and then removing Sunil Narine and Umesh Yadav — to virtually seal the game for Delhi.
It certainly was a good comeback by Kuldeep as he got his length right just in time on what was a belter of a track. Earlier, a flying start provided by Prithvi Shaw (51) and David Warner (61), hammering 93 within nine overs for the opening stand, enabled the Capitals to go for a big score.
Even after Prithvi’s dismissal off Varun Chakravarthy, Warner and captain Rishabh Pant (27)’s enterprising showing took the Capitals’ scoring rate over 11.
Besides, Chakravarthy, one of the Knights Riders’ most reliable spinners, bowled consecutive no-balls in the 11th over of the Capitals innings in which Warner and Pant clobbered him for 24 runs. No wonder that over turned out to be one of the crucial elements in terms of the game’s outcome.
Thanks to the discipline from Narine (2/21) and Umesh managing to get out Warner before the Australian opener could inflict further damage, the Knights stemmed the flow of runs a little bit between overs 14-18. But Shardul Thakur (29 not out) and Axar Patel (22 not out) re-launched the attack with their meaty blows. The last two overs, bowled by Umesh and Cummins, yielded the Capitals as many as 39.
KKR’s last-match hero Cummins found out once again how a great leveller cricket is. With the ball first, he took a pounding (0/51) before lasting only three balls during KKR’s run chase. With the bat, he seemed to have begun began from where he had left off in the previous game versus Mumbai Indians, thumping the very first ball he faced, off Khaleel, straight past mid-off for a four.
But that was all Cummins could contribute on this occasion as the scoreboard pressure turned out to be a little too much for him.