Kagiso Rabada produced figures of 2-20, but the Delhi Daredevils remain at the bottom of the IPL standings.
Gautam Gambhir became the third person to score 4 000 runs in the IPL, as he steered the Kolkata Knight Riders to a comprehensive seven-wicket victory over the Daredevils on Friday night.
KKR have done it again. For the fifth time this season, they’ve secured their victory by batting second, and it was their seventh victory overall from their nine matches, to steer two points clear of the Mumbai Indians.
The Delhi Daredevils have now lost five of their seven matches and remain rooted at the bottom of the standings. They barely have any time to regroup, for this match marked the first of five they have to play in the space of nine days.
The damage was done once again by KKR’s trusty and experienced pair, Gambhir and Robin Uthappa, who now occupy the top two spots in the run-charts this season. Uthappa did most of the damage with his 59 from 33 balls, but Gambhir was there at the end for his 71 off 52 to take the Orange Cap.
The Daredevils posted 160 from their allotted overs, but it was never likely to be enough at Eden Gardens, seeing as KKR chased down their 168-7 just over a week ago.
They were well set up-front, thanks to a 48-run stand from Sanju Samson and Karun Nair inside the first five overs. Nair perished for 15, but Samson pushed on and scored 60 off only 38 balls to take the Orange Cap temporarily.
The rest of the lineup failed to fire properly. Samson did find a useful partner in Shreyas Iyer for a 75-run stand, but Iyer struggled to go much beyond a run-a-ball, before eventually falling for 47.
Chris Morris was brought in at No 5, but he too, struggled to get going, scoring 11 off 10 balls. Despite being well-placed on 123-2 with six overs to go, they could only muster another 37 runs off the last six overs. Australian paceman Nathan Coulter-Nile was in fine form at the death, finishing with figures of 3-34 and conceding only six off the last over.
Makeshift opener Sunil Narine attempted to blast his side to a decent start, but he couldn’t handle the pace of Kagiso Rabada (2-20) as the hosts were dealt a blow early on in their chase. Rabada smashed the stumps for his second IPL wicket, having taken 1-30 on his debut last weekend.
That was as good as it got for the visitors, as Gambhir and Uthappa did what they’ve been doing successfully all season. Between them they already have seven fifties to their name in this tournament.
Uthappa was let off in a massive way on nine, as Rabada should have had a second. A skier circulated over three fielders with no one calling loudly enough to take the catch. That proved costly, with Uthappa muscling his way to 59, which included four sixes.
He was run out by a decent bit of work from Nair, but the damage was done, as that brought an end to a 108-run stand between Uthappa and Gambhir. Manish Pandey was bowled by Rabada for five, but Gambhir hit the winning runs to see his side home with 22 balls remaining.
Elsewhere the defending champions Sunrisers Hyderabad moved up to third with a 26-run win over the Kings XI Punjab. Fifties for David Warner, Shikhar Dhawan and Kane Williamson contributed to their massive 207-3, and a Kings XI side lacking Hashim Amla due to a hamstring injury meant they could only muster 181-9, with Shaun Marsh top-scoring with 84.