Kolkata: When Iqbal Abdulla took a running catch of Delhi Daredevils skipper Virender Sehwag off Rajat Bhatia in the eighth over with Delhi score still reading 57, it somehow brought Kolkata Knight Riders back into the match. But Viru’s move earlier to bring in Irfan Pathan at No 3 proved to be a master stroke as the left-hander played an astonishing and flawless innings of 42 off 30 balls that steered Delhi to an eight-wicket with five balls to spare in the rain-truncated 12-over match against the hosts at Eden gardens here on Thursday night.
Chasing a target of 97, Delhi got off to a fantastic start as Finch and Sehwag added 49 runs off 38 balls with Finch (30 off 27 balls) doing most of the damage. Kallis bowled out Finch in the seventh over and six balls later, Sehwag was caught brilliantly by Abdullah and that inspired the Riders to put in that extra efforts to take the attack back to the opposition.
But Irfan Pathan was in no mood to let the match slip from Daredevil’s grasp and played with authority. The left-hander changed the tide in his team’s favour by hitting three lofty sixes and his 40 runs helped Delhi to start their campaign with a win.
Earlier, Kolkata Knight Riders lost six wickets in six overs and that in itself told the sorry state of its batting performance on its home ground after Delhi Daredevils skipper Virender Sehwag, who won the toss, decided to field first. Though in-form Laxmi Ratan Shukla smashed a quick-fire 26 off 17 balls, but his 31-run seventh wicket partnership with Rajat Bhatia could only take KKR to 97 runs for 9 in the stipulated overs.
Mornie Morkel proved to be the wrecker-in-chief for the Delhi team as he not only took three wickets but also bowled miserly, giving away just 18 runs in three overs. Morkel was at his best as he scalped the prized wickets of Jacques Kallis (4), skipper Gautam Gambhir (16) and Manoj Tiwary (0) and that never let the Riders to unleash their prowess against the Daredevils. Umesh Yadav too came in good on the occasion as he took two wickets for 9 in two overs.