With the two-time champions Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) continuing with their dominant run in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL), the Gautam Gambhir-led side prepares for yet another action-packed challenge against Delhi Daredevils (DD), in Match 18 of IPL 2017 at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium in New Delhi on Monday. The reason why it can be called an action-packed match is because Gambhir feels that Delhi has the most prominent and the best bowling attack, comprising the likes of Zaheer Khan, Chris Morris, Corey Anderson and a few more. He feels that the kind of variety Delhi possesses is certainly the most interventionist thing he has seen in the Delhi side till date. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: Delhi Daredevils (DD) vs Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), IPL 2017, Match 18 at Delhi
Writing for Hindustan Times, Gambhir wrote, “Our next opposition Delhi Daredevils are easily the most talented bowling side in this year’s IPL, a platter with all the variety you could imagine. With Rahul Dravid as coach and Zaheer Khan as captain there is an experience of over 800 international games between them! For us fielding is an area where we have not been up there and hopefully that is now a thing of the past.”
“I am proud of our group and hopefully we can have another one of those unusual post-game celebrations in Delhi too. I don’t know whose idea was it but post our win over Hyderabad we cut a cake and also ‘cut’ a Hyderabadi biryani! It is good to be optimistic but the way Delhi Daredevils have been playing it will be foolhardy to order a bhalla-chaat. Well, just yet,” added Gambhir. FULL CRICKET UPDATES: Delhi Daredevils (DD) vs Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), IPL 2017, Match 18 at Delhi
Speaking more on the changes in trend of cricket, following the arrival of Twenty20 (T20) cricket and the IPL itself, he said, “Sometimes I feel IPL is cricket’s Wembley switching on its lights to some of the most amazing performances. In last 10 years I have witnessed some astounding demonstrations where human body and mind have combined with fierce desire to excel. Each time I see a boundary-riding fielder jumping on either side to pull off a catch or save a boundary I feel this is it, it can’t be bettered. But each time I am proven wrong.”
Gambhir recalled Robin Uthappa’s boundary over mid-off, in the 13th over by Ashish Nehra during KKR’s tie against Sunrisers. He said, “On Saturday at Eden Gardens, I witnessed a similar passage. It was over number 13 bowled by Ashish Nehra to Robin Uthappa. KKR was 99 for 2 and searching for some fuel to ignite the innings. Then came that magical moment: Nehra bowled an enticing half volley and Robin creamed it over mid-off. Sometimes the rush of T20 doesn’t do justice to these moments. This straight-batted one-bounce four falls in that category. I thought it will be tough to better this “Robin-Good” stroke. Once again, I was wrong.” IPL 2017 LIVE Streaming, DD vs KKR: Watch DD vs KKR live IPL 10 match on Hotstar
“Later in the evening Hyderabad were batting. Funnily the score was once again 99 and over number 15 had begun. A mirror image of the Robin-show happened. Left-arm bowler Nehra was replaced by right-arm Chris Woakes and right-handed Robin was replaced by Yuvraj Singh, the gorgeous left-hander. Woakes bowled a length ball and Yuvi produced that moment: a straight-batted six over mid-off and that too off the back foot,” he added.
Nevertheless, Gambhir praised Yuvraj’s footwork following his stroke against Woakes. “Please note it was hit off the back foot, with a straight bat and to a quick bowler. If you combine all the variables then the shot has to be in the paranormal category. I am a fierce competitor but instinctively I almost clapped for that stroke! I did clap a few balls later when Yuvraj got out. Even a chess fanatic would tell you that it was the turning point. I think if Mr Singh would have stayed on for 8 or 10 balls more it would have been a different story,” he said.
Gambhir then went on to credit Kolkata Knight Riders for their performance, especially the bowlers. “The credit must go to Woakes for holding his nerves. Overall it was a fine team-effort for KKR with Robin and Manish Pandey playing the batting lead roles. Our fast bowlers have been searching for yorkers but falling short by just a tiny bit. I am sure we will get there pretty soon,” he said.
“Spinners Sunil Narine and Kuldeep Yadav played their part really well. We all know what Sunil can do but Kuldeep is gaining in stature with every game. For a young wrist-spinner he is delightfully accurate. You could see the way he enticed David Warner with a wide, flighted delivery. In many ways this was turning point number two of the game,” he concluded.