Kolkata, April 10 (IANS) A stupendous bowling effort backed up by steady batting helped two-time champions Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) overwhelm Delhi Daredevils by 9 wickets in their Indian Premier League (IPL) opener at the Eden Gardens here on Sunday.
KKR skipper Gautam Gambhir remained unconquered with a 41-ball 38 alongside Manish Pandey who gathered 15 off 12 balls, while Robin Uthappa contributed 35 runs.
Earlier after KKR elected to field, Chinaman bowler Brad Hogg (3/19) and West Indies all-rounder Andre Russell (3/24) helped to skittle out Delhi for 98 on a strip that had some purchase for the bowlers.
Chasing Delhi’s 98 – the lowest IPL total at the venue, the Knights had a breezy start with Uthappa and Gambhir keen on making a mockery of Delhi’s low score.
The duo plundered 16 runs of the second over and then followed it up with 9 and 7 of the next two.
They continued the onslaught and by the end of the 6th over the home side were cruising at 47/0, with Uthappa unleashing his trademark arrow-like straight drives much to the delight of the 30,000 odd crowd.
Uthappa then tried a big hit and was out caught at deep but after 10 overs, the men in purple had posted 69/1 on the board.
Pandey, along with Gambhir, then struck a few blows to the ropes to help their side get over the line.
In the first innings, the Daredevils got off to a flying start with 23 runs coming off the first two overs. However, in the third over, Russell struck a double blow for the hosts by picking up Quinton de Kock and Shreyas Iyer.
By the end of the powerplay, Delhi had lost two more wickets in the form of Mayank Agarwal (9)and Karun Nair (3) with the score reading 35/4.
With the top-order back in the dugout, the Delhi innings moved forward at a snail’s pace. Pawan Negi after a brief partnership of 20 with Sanju Samson got stumped trying to push the accelerator.
The West Indies’ World T20 star Carlos Brathwaite too departed a little later after a monstrous six, foxed by a Piyush Chawla googly.
After 13 overs, the visitors were left struggling at 84/7 with their hopes pinned on Samson.
But he departed in the very next over edging one to the wicket-keeper.
Thereafter, it was only a matter of time before the Daredevils were bowled out and the inevitable happened in the 18th over.
Brief Scores: Delhi Daredevils 98 all out (Quinton De Kock 17; Brad Hogg 3/19, Andre Russell 3/24)vs Kolkata Knight Riders 99/1 (Gautam Gambhir not out 38, Robin Uthappa 35)
(Debdoot Das can be contacted at email@example.com)