A complete team performance saw Delhi Capitals beat Kolkata Knight Riders by seven wickets in their fortress, the Eden Gardens, on Friday night. Opting to bowl first, the Delhi seamers restricted Kolkata to 178 despite a late Andre Russell blitz. Shikhar Dhawan and Rishabh Pant then combined in a century stand to take Delhi over the line quite comfortably. The win is just Delhi's second at Eden Gardens in nine attempts. Here are some of the the best moments from the match:
Ishant Sharma's peach to debutant Joe Denly
Joe Denly had waited quite a while for an IPL debut after impressing in the NatWest T20 Blast in England but when it came, he barely got the chance to get his eye in. The England opener replaced Chris Lynn at the top of the Kolkata Knight Riders batting line-up and was up against Ishant Sharma first ball on a green pitch at Eden Gardens.
Ishant hit the first ball on a length and got it to seam back in sharply to leave Denly in complete shock. The opener made a tentative forward push but left a gaping hole between bat and pad which allowed Ishant's in-decker to sneak through and crash into the stumps. The Delhi seamer was superb with his line and length up front with the new ball and gave away just one run in his first eleven balls.
Andre Russell smashes one into Carlos Brathwaite's thigh and then his own
When Andre Russell gets going there is no one who can stop him but on Friday at Eden Gardens, Carlos Brathwaite at the non-striker's end accidentally stopped a certain boundary from Russell. In the 17th over, Chris Morris bowled a back of a length delivery at the stumps and Russell gave himself room before playing a tennis smash down the ground with fierce force.
The ball, though, went straight at the non-striker, Brathwaite, who barely had any time to react. The West Indian all-rounder could not even attempt to sway out of the way and coped a blow on his thigh. Brathwaite seemed fine after the incident and even shared a laugh with Russell and Morris.
Next over, Russell inside edged another one onto his own thighs off Kagiso Rabada. The South African had bowled an enticing full toss on off-stump and Russell went for an almighty slog but could only manage an under edge that went on to smash into his thighs. Unlike Brathwaite, Russell was in severe pain and went down in a flash. He was in discomfort for a while and was dismissed off the next ball he faced.
Whatever Rishabh Pant does, Dinesh Karthik can do better
Two outrageous catches from the wicket-keepers made headlines at Eden Gardens on Friday. Rishabh Pant first pulled off a sensational overhead catch to dismiss Robin Uthappa off Kagiso Rabada. The South African seamer dished out a fearsome bouncer to Uthappa, who looked to go after the ball with a proper hook shot. The disconcerting bounce, however, meant that Uthappa could only glove the ball behind. Pant, behind the stumps, got his timing perfect and completed a terrific catch over his head.
Dinesh Karthik, in direct competition with Pant for that second wicket-keeper's slot for the World Cup, showed that he is capable of pulling off screamers too and plucked a brilliant catch behind the stumps to send Prithvi Shaw back in the second innings. Prasidh Krishna got the ball to jag away late from the batsman in the third over and Shaw got a massive deflection that went well wide of Karthik behind the stumps. The Kolkata skipper, nearly wrong-footed at the time, went for a full-stretch dive to his right and pulled off a brilliant catch.
The Russell-Rabada tussle
After cleaning Russell up with a searing toe-crusher in the Super Over two weeks ago, Kagiso Rabada was Delhi Capitals’ go-to man to stop the Dre Russ rampage at Eden Gardens on Friday. His pace and ability to land a yorker perfectly made Rabada their best bet against the West Indian big hitter but Russell went on to show that he isn't the kind of dynamite that can be contained.
Off the first ball he faced from Rabada, a slower delivery, Russell waited on his back foot and glided it away through point for four. Two balls later, another slower ball was dispatched into the stands for six. When Rabada returned in the 18th over, Russell was ready for his pacy shorter balls and smashed two of them in identical fashion over the square leg ropes. Both sixes did not come off the sweet spot of the bat but with Russell's power, it had enough force to clear the ropes.
After smashing a full toss into his thighs off the last ball of the over, Russell hit Morris straight to Rabada at deep point in the 19th over. Rabada was saved for Russell by Shreyas Iyer and was used for two overs in the middle overs, a phase where he had bowled only three overs prior to this in six games. However, Russell smashed 26 off the nine balls he faced from the lanky seamer.
Heedless Pant - Part 4
Rishabh Pant had played quite responsibly after walking in at the fall of the second wicket on Friday. He was happy to be at the non-striker's end while Dhawan went bonkers and later switched gears himself to take Delhi close to the target. On 46 off 30 balls and Delhi within touching distance of the target, Pant took on Nitish Rana's part-time off-spin and holed out to long-on.
This is the fourth time in as many run-chases this season that the Delhi keeper has thrown his wicket away after the 17th over. Against Kolkata at Feroz Shah Kotla, his dismissal triggered a collapse after Delhi needed 16 in three overs with eight wickets remaining. The game ended in a tie although Delhi was salvaged by Rabada in the Super Over.
Against Kings XI Punjab at Mohali, Delhi needed 23 off 21 balls with seven wickets remaining when Pant went after the bowling and threw his wicket away. The team went on to lose by 14 runs. Against Royal Challengers Bangalore, in yet another run-chase, Pant once again went for a big shot needlessly and was dismissed in the penultimate over. On Friday, we saw the fourth part of what seems to be a never-ending series from the reckless Delhi batsman.