IPL 2013: Sunil Narine, Gautam Gambhir set up convincing Kolkata Knight Riders victory

Gautam Gambhir scored 42 during Kolkata Knight Riders’s chase © IANS

By Nishad Pai Vaidya
 
Kolkata: Apr 3, 2013

The Kolkata Knight Riders kicked off the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2013 with a convincing six wicket victory over the Delhi Daredevils. It was a complete team effort although the scorecard may suggest stellar performances from Sunil Narine and Gautam Gambhir. Narine’s four for and Rajat Bhatia’s miserly spell limited Delhi to 128 and Gambhir’s effort, with a solid 42, set up the win for the defending champions.

Earlier, Kolkata captain Gambhir won the toss and elected to bowl first in front of some passionate support at the Eden Gardens.

The IPL got off to a rocking start as the veteran Brett Lee delivered a very eventful first over. He had the youngster Unmukt Chand bowled off the first ball with a peach of a delivery. Jayawardene then worked the second delivery through mid-wicket for a silken boundary and David Warner bludgeoned the last ball through the covers for another four.

Jayawardene and Warner then counterattacked with a few boundaries. The Australian combined timing with his brute force, while the Daredevils’ commander-in-chief was classy as usual. The shot that stood out early in the innings was Jayawardene’s delicate upper cut off Lee for four.

Kolkata pulled things back with the introduction of Narine as he had Warner caught at first-slip. Delhi kept losing wickets at regular intervals with none of the batsmen establishing themselves. Through all that, Jayawardene cut a lone figure as he kept his side in the hunt with a cool headed knock.

It was due to his effort of 66 off 52 balls that Delhi mustered 128. He was particularly severe on Lee in the slog overs and extended Delhi’s charge. Once he was dismissed, their fight was effectively over. Narine finished with magnificent figures of four for 13 with Bhatia playing a support role with two for 23.

Kolkata’s run-chase got off to a dodgy start with Irfan Pathan bowling a maiden to Manvinder Bisla. In the second over, Ashish Nehra worked up to a good rhythm and had Bisla caught trying to pull. However, Gambhir got the run-chase off and running by attacking Irfan in the next over. He walked down the track to smash the ball past point and then lofted him over long-on for a maximum. 

Jacques Kallis followed suit at the other end by essaying a few classy fours through the off-side. The home side moved past the early jitters by ending the powerplay on 46 for one — cruising towards the total. 

During the pursuit, Kolkata were never in any trouble although they lost Kallis immediately after the powerplay to Shahbaz Nadeem. Manoj Tiwary joined his captain at the centre and they calmly went about the task as the asking rate dropped under six. The duo added 41 before Gambhir was trapped in front by Johan Botha for 42. Tiwary followed soon after with Kolkata needing 30 off 34 balls.

Yusuf Pathan and Eoin Morgan saw KKR through as they overhauled the target with eight balls to spare.

Delhi fought hard courtesy Shahbaz Nadeem’s spell of two for 22, but it was never quite enough. Kolkata were always the favourites after they had limited the visitors to 128.
 
Brief Scores: Delhi Daredevils 128 all-out in 20 overs (Mahela Jayawardene 66, David Warner 21; Sunil Narine 4 for 13, Rajat Bhatia 2 for 23) lost to Kolkata Knight Riders 129 for 4 in 19.4 overs (Gautam Gambhir 42, Jacques Kallis 23; Shahbaz Nadeem 2 for 22) by 6 wickets.

Man of the Match: Sunil Narine
 
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