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IPL 6: KKR get off to a winning start in title defence

KKR won the toss and chose to field first.

Delhi Daredevils: 128 all out

Daredevils lost Unmukt Chand first ball to a peach from Brett Lee but David Warner and Mahela Jayawardene looked to be crusing, adding 44 together in less than 6 overs. But the introduction of Sunil Narine in the 6th over changed the tempo of the innings. He had Warner caught at first slip and after that it was a succession of wickets.

Narine was the standout bowler, with Gambhir having him bowl three of the last five overs, and the spinner responded with three more wickets to finish with 4-13. He was backed up by Rajat Bhatia, who took 2 for 22, and Laxmipathy Balaji, who took 1-20, both bowlers helped by a pitch where the ball wasn’t quite coming on to the bat.

Eoin Morgan of the Kolkata Knight Riders celebrates after hitting the winning runs. BCCI

Eoin Morgan of the Kolkata Knight Riders celebrates after hitting the winning runs. BCCI

Missing Virender Sehwag and Kevin Pietersen meant Daredevils were short of proper batsmen and it showed. Jayawardene was the only player to come to grips with the surface, and made a splendid 66, but he was out off the last ball of the 19th over as DD posted a subpar total of 128.

Kolkata Knight Riders: 129/4 in 18.4 overs

Gautam Gambhir showed he was ready to lead KKR in their title defense with a brisk 41 at the top of the order that took any excitement out of a smallish chase. Together with Jacques Kallis and then Manoj Tiwary, Gambhir milked the Daredevils bowlers with ease before his innings was cut short by one that kept low from Johan Botha

Kallis was the more elegant player but it was Gambhir who was more destructive, charging Irfan Pathan and hitting him for four and six off consecutive boundaries. It was an innings of intent and there was no sign of his poor international form, aside from the two run-out chances he gave Daredevils, neither of which were taken.

KKR wobbled a little as victory neared, with Gambhir and Tiwary falling in quick succession, but Yusuf Pathan and Eoin Morgan played sensible cricket to see the home side over the line.

Turning Points

Sunil Narine’s introduction in the sixth over produced the wicket of David Warner and slowed down the Daredevils as Jayawardene realised he would have to bat through the innings. Rajat Bhatia, with his clever mix of cutters, and Laxmipathi Balaji, then controlled the middle overs and took regular wickets to stifle the visitors.

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