KOLKATA: Kolkata Knight Riders responded with a horses for courses approach on a greenish Eden Gardens surface yesterday.
Shakib Al Hasan and Morne Morkel, who were central to their plans last season, were benched. Sunil Narine, who played a stellar role in their title-winning run in 2012 and 2014, was unavailable because of his father’s demise.
Did it hamper them?
It didn’t look like as Andre Russell and Brad Hogg took three wickets apiece to skittle Delhi Daredevils for 98.
Robin Uthappa and Gautam Gambhir’s 69-run opening stand turned the chase into a cakewalk as Knight Riders won by nine wickets and 35 balls to spare.
Andre Russell and John Hastings, taking Morkel’s place, ran in hard and slammed the deck. Russell, having joined the side after a quick trip to West Indies, saw the first ball of the match soar into the cover boundary. But he bounced back and laid down Knight Riders’ marker.
Quinton de Kock, who had pulled Umesh Yadav for back-to-back boundaries, was the first to go when he was undone by extra bounce, skewing a catch to mid-off.
Three balls later, Shreyas Iyer was trapped leg-before for a duck. Mayank Agarwal and Karun Nair exited in successive overs and Hastings capped the powerplay with a wicket maiden. By then, Daredevils were in a familiar spot at 35 for four.
Pawan Negi, who was promoted to No 6, swished and missed balls outside off. His misery came to an end when he was dismissed for 11 off 19 balls by Brad Hogg in his first over, the 10th of the innings.
IPL debutant Carlos Brathwaite, who fired West Indies to their second World T20 title last week, momentarily broke the shackles with a slogged a six over wide long-on.
But two balls later, he was foxed by a skiddy googly from Piyush Chawla. The leg-spinner and Hogg then toyed with the opposition, juxtaposing googlies with sliders.
Sanju Samson was the eighth Daredevils batsman to be dismissed before Hastings made a reappearance to wrap Daredevils up for their seventh sub-100 score in IPL.
It was also the second-lowest score in the IPL at Eden Gardens. Eventually, Daredevils’ strategy of playing only four-specialist batsmen backfired.
Delhi Dardevils 98 all out (De Kock 17, Hogg 3-19; Russell 3-24) lost to Kolkata Knight Riders 99-1 (Gambhir 38*, Uthappa 35) by 9 wickets.
Kings XI Punjab
vs Gujarat Lions
(Mohali. Starting 5.30pm)