When things get tough, the tough get going. This adage was proved right by the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) batsmen Yusuf Pathan and Manish Pandey on Monday during their clash against the Delhi Daredevils (DD) in match 18 of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2017. The two batsmen, who have hardened over the years playing in many difficult situations, were up against another such situation on Monday, when their team was reeling at 21 for 3 in chase of 169. The duo, however, put up 110 runs for the fourth wicket in 12 overs, thus setting up their fourth win in the tournament. Both hit fluent fifties to guide their team home with 4 wickets in hand and 1 ball to spare. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: Delhi Daredevils (DD) vs Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), IPL 2017, Match 18
KKR did not have the best of the starts, as their experiment to open the innings with Colin de Grandhomme instead of Sunil Narine failed when Grandhomme departed for 1. Robin Uthappa was the next to go, when he was brilliantly caught behind the wicket by Rishabh Pant for a mere 4 off Pat Cummins’ bowling. Skipper Gautam Gambhir was the next to go, after being brilliantly set up by his opposite number Zaheer Khan.
Zaheer first bowled a couple of in-swingers before bowling one that slightly moved away from Gambhir. He, after seeing Gambhir come down the track, perhaps changed his plan at the eleventh hour and bowled a delivery which shaped away from the batsman. Gambhir played a premeditated shot, hoping for the ball to come into him, and ended up getting a leading edge, which was pouched by Angelo Mathews at backward point. KKR were reduced to 21 for 3. This is when Pathan and Pandey joined forces.
The duo rose to the occasion, adding 110 runs for the fourth wicket in 12 overs. Their partnership set up the win eventually. While Yusuf fell after 59 off 39, Pandey remained unbeaten on 69 and got the team across the finishing line on the penultimate delivery. Pathan hit 6 fours and 2 sixes enroute 59, while Pandey hit 4 fours and 3 sixes — one of them coming in the last over with 8 to win off 3 balls. Once Pathan was dismissed, Suryakumar Yadav came out to bat but went back quickly, scoring just 7. Pandey, though, held the fort and finished the game in style.
For DD, Zaheer and Cummins picked up 2 wickets each. While Zaheer gave away 28 runs, Cummins was a tad expensive, going for 39 runs. Chris Morris also chipped in with a wicket, but the bowling unit failed to click as a unit and defend the score.
Earlier, Zaheer won the toss and opted to bat first; a trend that has been his side’s recipe to success in this tournament thus far. DD made two changes to their squad, bringing in Mohammed Shami in place of Shahbaz Nadeem and Mathews for Corey Anderson, who was unwell. KKR made a single change, bringing in Nathan Coulter-Nile for Trent Boult.
Zaheer’s openers made his call look right, as Sanju Samson looked brilliant from the word go. The talented youngster, who has had a great start to IPL 10 having scored a ton, collected two boundaries in the first over bowled by Coulter-Nile. DD raced to 53 at the end of powerplay, but KKR got the first breakthrough immediately after that. Coulter-Nile induced an edge off Sam Billings’ bat down the leg side, which was pouched by Robin Uthappa. He got 21. In the very next over, Umesh returned to get his man Samson, who perished to a similar dismissal after scoring a fine 39 off 25 balls.
Karun Nair and Shreyas Iyer got starts but fell in their 20s. While Nair struggled throughout, Iyer looked good and was unlucky to get run out. However, Iyer’s dismissal proved to be a blessing in disguise for DD, as it brought Rishabh Pant in the middle. The young wicketkeeper-batsman added quick runs. He was particularly severe against India’s pace spearhead Umesh Yadav, whom he hit for 26 runs in an over, which had 3 sixes and 2 fours. His cameo propelled DD to 168.
Delhi Daredevils 168 for 7 in 20 overs (Sanju Samson 39, Rishabh Pant 38; Nathan Coulter-Nile 3 for 22, Sunil Narine 1 for 20) lost to Kolkata Knight Riders 169 for 6 in 19.5 overs (Manish Pandey 69*, Yusuf Pathan 59; Zaheer Khan 2 for 28, Pat Cummins 2 for 39) by 4 wickets at Delhi.