Daredevils thump Knight Riders by nine wickets, jump to top
A half-century from stand-in skipper Gautam Gambhir led Delhi Daredevils to the top of the Indian Premier League table with a nine-wicket win over Kolkata Knight Riders on Tuesday, reports Atreyo Mukhopadhyay. Listen to podcast | Special Coveragecricket Updated: May 06, 2009 11:58 IST
The dismal record of the Kolkata Knight Riders notwithstanding, their fans were on a high a night before the game against the Delhi Daredevils. There was a group trying to lift the spirits of coaching director John Buchanan who was having a quiet drink at the hotel. There were many at the ground on Tuesday in black-gold shirts.
It looked as if the team too was desperate to turn things around. Soon after arriving from Port Elizabeth late on Monday afternoon, the players went out to run on the beach with darkness descending and turned up at the ground for nets well before Tuesday's late match. It bore fruit in the sense that they ended up posting their highest total in IPL II.
The start was brisk thanks to Brendon McCullum's urge to come good for the first time in the competition. The skipper looked determined to end his lean run and connected well with the ball initially to take the score to 48 without loss after four overs. The innings lost momentum with his departure and the total was 69 after 10.
The last 10 overs produced 85 thanks to Morne van Wyk. The South African looked promising in the last two appearances after sitting out the first few games. He let McCullum face more balls in the start, didn't throw it away after settling down and formed the backbone of the innings. There wasn't much in terms of fireworks from the other end and this kept the team from setting a more challenging target.
The Daredevils started at good pace after two moderate overs. Australian T20 specialist David Warner was the principal aggressor, making good use of the short stuff he was liberally provided. The Knight Riders were sloppy on the field again and let too many balls through the legs or past the hands, something a team defending 154 could hardly afford.
Warner fell after giving his team the right start but had provided a perfect launchpad. Gautam Gambhir helped himself to an unbeaten 71 and ended his dry run in his tournament. Kolkata's misery continued even as Delhi cantered to a nine-wicket win and shot to the top of the points table. Delhi got plenty of help along the way as Kolkata’s players dropped catches in several different positions.