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Defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders kick-started their IPL 2013 campaign in grand style winning their first match of the competition in convincing fashion. The match was set up for KKR by their mystery spinner, Sunil Narine, who helped bowl out the Delhi Daredevils for 128, a total chased down in 18.4 overs. KKR won the contest by six wickets.
Chasing 129 to win on a slow Eden Garden's pitch, KKR started off slowly as Irfan Pathan bowled a first over maiden. Ashish Nehra got the initial strike sending Manvinder Bisla (4) packing. Knight Rider's captain, Gautam Gambhir smashed a boundary and a six off consecutive deliveries in Pathan's second over and with that the KKR bandwagon got rolling. Gambhir along with Jaques Kallis (23) added 47 runs for the second wicket, before the latter was caught at deep midwicket off Shahbaz Nadeem.
Gambhir led from the front cutting and driving aggressively before Johan Botha trapped him leg before for 43. But by then KKR’s asking rate was down to under six. Eoin Morgan (14*) and Yusuf Pathan (18*) saw the team through to a well deserved win with eight balls remaining.
Earlier in the evening, KKR who won the toss, put DD in and were rewarded immediately as Brett Lee castled Unmukt Chand's (0) off the very first delivery. DD who were missing the services of Kevin Pietersen and Jesse Ryder were further weakened by the absence of Virender Sehwag due to an injury.
Bhatia struck twice in three balls, removing Naman Ojha (9) and Botha (7) to reduce DD to 88 for 5 and Narine followed it up with the wickets of Irfan Pathan (4) and Russell Arnold (4) to leave DD struggling to put together a partnership. Skipper Mahela Jayawardene played the lone hand for Daredevils as he kept the innings together with a cautious 66 from 52 balls. He fell at the end of the 19th over, his team eventually bundled out for 128 runs from their 20 overs.
Man-of-the-Match: Sunil Narine (4-0-13-4)
Brief scores: Delhi Daredevils 128 in 20.0 overs [Mahela Jayawardene 66, Sunil Narine 4-13] lost to Kolkata Knight Riders 129-4 in 18.4 overs [Gautam Gambhir 43, Shahbaz Nadeem 2-22].
Earlier, KKR were forced to make a couple of changes to their side with Laxmipathy Balaji’s hamstring injury not having healed itself completely. Brett Lee came in to the playing XI replacing Balaji, while MS Bisla stepped into the wicketkeeper’s role, due to which Debabrata Das sat out. CSK, meanwhile, played an unchanged side.
The defending champions put on a dominating batting performance for the third game in a row. After MS Dhoni won the toss and opted to bat first, Murali Vijay and Michael Hussey struck an 87-run stand to give the hosts a perfect foundation for a big score. Vijay pulled the quicks and used his feet to loft the KKR spinners. Hussey, on the other hand, charged down the wicket to the pacers and brought out, both the sweep and the reverse sweep to unleash a flurry of fours and sixes. KKR eventually got their first breakthrough when Vijay (42), attempting to pull Rajat Bhatia over deep square-leg, was caught by a diving Shakib Al Hasan in the 11th over.
Vijay’s wicket didn’t slow CSK down though. Suresh Raina played a blinder to ensure the defending champions stayed on course to post a big score. Raina heaved Kallis for six over midwicket in the 12th over and smote Yusuf Pathan for 14 runs in three balls in the 14th before smashing Brett Lee and Sunil Narine for a six each in the 16th and 17th overs respectively.
The Kolkata franchise picked their second wicket when Hussey (54) was bowled by Kallis off the first ball of the 18th over. But with Raina hitting a feisty 73 off just 38 balls and MS Dhoni chipping in with a nine-ball 14*, CSK finished at a challenging 190 for three in 20 overs. Raina was out, caught brilliantly by Lee off the last ball of CSK’s innings.
Chasing 191 to win their maiden IPL title, KKR’s hopes were dealt a crushing below when in-form batsman Gautam Gambhir (2) was bowled by Ben Hilfenhaus off a slower ball in just the first over. Bisla, who opened with Gambhir, nonetheless set about reviving the KKR innings. The opening batsman bludgeoned Albie Morkel for four fours in the fourth over and then lofted R Ashwin over the boundary ropes for a couple of sixes in the sixth to bring up KKR’s 50 in just 5.4 overs. Bisla then targeted Dwayne Bravo, flicking and lofting the CSK pacer for a four and a six over in the ninth overs, after which he hit Shadab Jakati for two consecutive fours to take his team to 111 for one in 11 overs.
With Bisla firing, Kallis was happy to play second fiddle, and he had scored only 28 when the 100-run partnership between the two was brought up in the 11th over. However, when Bisla (89 off 48 balls) was caught at point by Badrinath in the 15th over, the all-rounder switched gears to take control of the run-chase. With KKR needing 50 off the last five overs, Kallis went after Shadab Jakati and Bravo. He hit them for a total of 23 runs in the 16th and 17th overs respectively.
CSK tried their best to stymie KKR’s chances with a couple of wickets, including Kallis’ scalp, at the end. However, with KKR needing 16 to win off the last seven deliveries, Shakib Al Hasan (11* off seven) punished Ben Hilfenhaus for bowling a full toss over waist height (no ball) by scooping the CSK pacer for four to fine leg. Manoj Tiwary (nine not out off three balls) then heaved Dwayne Bravo for consecutive boundaries in the last over to bring up a famous win for the Knight Riders. Scorecard
Man-of-the-match:Manvinder Sultansingh Bisla for his match-winning 48-ball 89 (8x4, 5x6) that helped KKR win their first ever IPL title.