Gambir fashions Delhi victory
Durban: An unbeaten 71 from opener Gautam Gambhir propelled Delhi Daredevils to the top of the Indian Premier League (IPL) after a nine-wicket win over bottom placed Kolkata Knight Riders at the Kingsmead here on Tuesday.
Knight Riders slumped to their seventh overall and fifth consecutive loss despite putting up a competitive 153-3 in 20 overs, thanks to Morne van Wayk's 74 off 48 balls. Poor fielding again let down Knight Riders as they floored three easy catches and missed an easy run out that allowed Gambhir and Tillakaratne Dilshan (42 not out) take Daredevils to 157-1 in 19 overs.
Wayward bowling also compounded Knight Riders' miseries. Ishant Sharma and Ajit Agarkar found themselves at the receiving end of Gambhir's blade while Murali Karthik was the only bowler to command some respect, giving away just 18 runs from his four overs.
After deciding to bat, Knight Riders skipper Brendon McCulllum (35) and Van Wyk set the tone with their 58-run opening wicket stand. McCullum, who was going through a rough patch, took his time after being troubled by Dirk Nannes. But slowly the Kiwi batsman looked to get back his rhythm by hitting Nannes for two sixes and one four in a 21-run third over. Van Wyk was in good touch and clobbered 11 fours in his 48-ball innings. Along with Brad Hodge (10), Van Wyk took Knight Riders to a good place after the 10th over. But Hodge's dismissal slowed down the run rate. Moises Henriques (30 not out) and Van Wyk then slashed 49 runs in the next few overs to take Knight Riders to a good total. But some tight bowling by Nannes and the outstanding Ashish Nehra kept Knight Riders to 153 in 20 overs.
Leading the side in the absence of Virender Sehwag, the onus was on Gambhir to give Delhi a good start. With David Warner (36), Gambhir gave Delhi an explosive start that set up the win. The win was Delhi’s fifth from seven matches and they are now at the top, followed by Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals in the second and third spot respectively.