Kolkata: Kolkata Knight Riders started their title defence on a confident note as they comfortably defeated Delhi Daredevils by six wickets in the opening encounter of the sixth edition of Indian Premier League on Wednesday. SCORECARD: KKR VS DD Teams: (JPN/Agencies)
A clinical bowling effort saw KKR restrict Daredevils to a modest 128 in 20 overs and then they chased down the runs with eight balls to spare on Eden Gardens strip where batsmen found difficult to score freely.
Mystery spinner Sunil Narine with brilliant figures of 4/13 kept Daredevils under tight leash while skipper Gautam Gambhir's useful 42 kept the defending champions' run-chase on track.
Jacques Kallis (23) and Manoj Tiwary (23) were involved small but useful partnerships as KKR always looked firm favourites to pull off the chase despite losing a few wickets towards the end.
Ashish Nehra gave an early breakthrough removing Manvinder Bisla (4) but skipper Gautam Gambhir and elder statesman Jacques Kallis added 47 runs for the second wicket before the South African legend was holed out in the deep as he failed to punish a rank long-hop from left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem.
Gambhir was off the blocks as he first slashed Irfan Pathan over point for a boundary and then lofted the bowler over long-on for a six. Kallis's straight push and a 'Nataraja shot' off Nehra saw KKR score at a quick clip.
Once Kallis was gone, Gambhir-Tiwary duo added another 41 runs before a quicker one from Johan Botha caught the left-hander on the wrong-foot. Gambhir's 42 came off 29 balls with five fours and a six.
Tiwary's run-a-ball 23 came to an end when Nadeem (2/22) got his second wicket. Yusuf Pathan (18 no) and Eoin Morgan (14 no) completed the formalities with minimum fuss.
Earlier, KKR rode on Narine's 4/13 to bundle out a depleted Delhi Daredevils for a none-too-impressive 128 with none of the batsmen save skipper Mahela Jayawardene able to make a substantial contribution.
Jayawardene came to Daredevils' rescue as his sensible knock of 66 off 52 balls helped them reach a total of 125 plus. Jayawardene hit eight fours and a six in his innings.
Everything went as per KKR skipper Gambhir's plan after he won the toss and opted to field.
Brett Lee gave KKR the ideal start cleaning up Unmukt Chand (0) with the very first ball of the championship while Narine and Rajat Bhatia (2/23) with his military medium pacers, knocked the stuffing out of the opponents sharing six wickets between them.Warner, Johan Botha and Andre Russell.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Gautam Gambhir (c), Manvinder Bisla, Manoj Tiwary, Yusuf Pathan, Rajat Bhatia, Laxmi Ratan Shukla, Laxmipathy Balaji, Jacques Kallis, Eoin Morgan, Brett Lee and Sunil Narine.
Delhi Daredevils: Mahela Jayawardene (c), David Warner, Unmukt Chand, Manpreet Juneja, Johan Botha, Naman Ojha (wk), Andre Russell, Irfan Pathan, Ashish Nehra, Shahbaz Nadeem and Umesh Yadav.
Kolkata: Kolkata Knight Riders started their title defence on a confident note as they comfortably defeated Delhi Daredevils by six wickets in the opening encounter of the sixth edition of Indian Premier League on Wednesday.
SCORECARD: KKR VS DD