Zaheer Khan made an impressive comeback from a year-long hiatus, complementing Nathan Coulter-Nile brilliantly, as Delhi Daredevils (DD) thumped Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) by 9 wickets in an Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket match in Delhi on Friday.
Chasing a small target of 119, Daredevils romped home with 6.1 overs to spare as openers Mayank Agarwal (52 not out) and Shreyas Iyer (54) put on a comfortable 106-run partnership for the first wicket to seal the issue in style.
Delhi could not have asked for a better performance from their bowlers in their last home match as they restricted Punjab to 118 for eight after winning the toss.
Coming into bowl in a competitive match after 363 days, Zaheer removed Virender Sehwag (1) off the second ball and Manan Vohra (1) in his very next over as he finished with figures of 2/17 from four overs.
After Zaheer blew the top two away, Coulter-Nile caused a lot of damage in the middle and lower order with figures of 4/20 in four overs as it deservingly earned him the man-of-the-match award.
There was not much KXIP could have done after putting up a small total and Delhi easily crossed the finishing line without much fuss.
Needing under six runs an over, Iyer and Agarwal went about their business calmly. Iyer's 54 came off 40 balls, with four fours and three sixes, while Agarwal's faced 40 balls in his knock and hit six fours and six.
Delhi now have eight points and they move up to number four in the IPL standings, replacing Royal Challengers Bangalore (7), while Punjab remained at the bottom with 4 points.
The Kotla pitch had good bounce to assist the bowlers even as there were no demons in it and the Punjab batsmen were largely responsible for the team's misery as they did not apply themselves well.
KXIP can thank David Miller (42) and Axar Patel (22) as their 57-run partnership for the seventh wicket helped them cross the 100-run mark as they were tottering at 45 for six at the halfway stage.
Apart from the duo, only skipper George Bailey (18) reached the double-digit mark before being trapped LBW by Amit Mishra.