Driven by Sunil Narine’s belligerent start and Dinesh Karthik's cool finish, Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) finished with the highest total of the season, a whopping 245 against Kings XI Punjab (KXIP). KL Rahul continued his rich form and had Kolkata worried with his incredible hitting, but after his dismissal, Kings XI could only just reduce the margin of defeat.
At Delhi, it was another show from the youngsters — Rishabh Pant and debutant Abhishek Sharma — that helped the hosts to a fighting 181 in their IPL encounter against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). However, with Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers stitching together their first century stand of the season, the game was all but over in no time. De Villiers completed formalities with some spell-binding hitting and pushed Delhi into gloom yet again. Here we discuss the best moments from the two matches.
The rip-roaring catch after the drop
It's not often that AB de Villiers drops a catch, so when he does, it deserves a mention. The South African put Shreyas Iyer down when the Delhi skipper lofted the ball over cover. However, he made amends pretty quickly. When Rishabh Pant got a good chunk of the ball with his hit over cow corner, de Villiers ran in from long-on, put in a neat dive near the ropes even as another fielder came in from the other end, and caught the ball. He slid and held onto the ball, rolled over and just about managed to keep himself and the ball within the rope.
When Andre Russell sent another one into orbit
Such is the brute power of Andre Russell that even if he mistimes the ball completely, it could end up in the second or third tier of most cricket grounds. Imagine when he goes on his knees and smashes the leather out of the ball.
With Axar Patel struggling for his line and length and rapidly running out of ideas, Russell decided to toy around with him and slog swept the spinner out of the Holkar stadium with a massive strike. The ball kept going out and evaded the last hoarding at the top and landed on roof of the stadium.
The perfect field placement
Shreyas Iyer is still taking baby steps in the world of captaincy, but if Saturday's effort is anything to go by, he is learning pretty fast. With Virat Kohli dismissed and AB de Villiers going berserk, Delhi Daredevils needed a bit of tactical nous to get back into the game.
Sarfaraz Khan had joined de Villiers at the crease and the youngster is known for his cheeky dabs, scoops and laps. Setting the perfect field for such a batsman can be daunting for captains but Iyer had the perfect solution.
Unlike de Villiers, Sarfaraz thrives on his shots behind the stumps a lot more and in a bid to cut out his scoring area behind the keeper's head, Iyer had a fielder stationed so fine at deep fine-leg that he could very well have been in a straight line behind the keeper.
Harshal Patel bowled a low full toss outside off-stump to Sarfaraz and the batsman scooped it over the keeper's head. It appeared to be a brilliant shot by Sarfaraz until Prithvi Shaw walked in from his unusual fielding position, juggled and held on to a catch. The excellent bit of captaincy from Iyer became a major talking point.
The studious 17-year-old
When Abhishek Sharma, all of 17 years, strolled out to the middle, little did the cricketing fraternity know that they were about to witness strokeplay of the highest order. Innocuous in appearance, Abhishek stepped up the gas from the first ball he faced. Taking inspiration from the slew of young stars in the Delhi setup, Abhishek played some dazzling strokes in his adventurous 19-ball 46 but none stood out like the precise loft down the ground off Tim Southee.
He had miscued the previous ball from Southee to third man but had earned a boundary and a frustrated Kiwi bowled the next one full and outside off. Abhishek, almost oblivious to Southee's reputation as an international cricketer, stood still at the crease and blasted the ball straight over the bowler's head almost effortlessly. The unmistakable elegance and poise in the shot were proofs of his outrageous talent as a batsman.
The dropped catch-injury-regret cycle
Ravichandran Ashwin had earned plaudits for how he kept Sunil Narine quiet with Mujeeb ur Rahman in the first match between these two teams in the season. On a flat Holkar wicket, there was no reason to not persist with the move and Mujeeb continued to torment Narine with a near reflection of Narine's own variations.
He was beaten off the first ball he faced from Mujeeb and seemed rather uncertain against the spinner. In the second ball of the third over, Narine struck a meaty blow off the Afghan spinner straight back at him. Caught by surprise, Mujeeb extended his right hand to catch the ball, put it down and hurt himself in the process.
The youngster had to walk off the ground and Ravichandran Ashwin completed his overs. Mujeeb's injury seemed to be the timely boost Narine needed to get going (he was on 7 off 8 balls at the time) and he tormented the hosts for close to 12 overs with his calculated slogs. A 36-ball 75 all but erased Kings XI's hopes of bowling out KKR for a below-par total.