Saturday, October 23, 2021

Narine, Rana help KKR prevail over Delhi, move to 10 points (Ld)

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Sharjah, Sep 28 (IANS) Struggling at 96/5 on a very slow surface at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium, it looked like Kolkata Knight Riders would make heavy weather of the small target of 128 runs against Delhi Capitals in the UAE leg of the IPL 2021 on Tuesday. But a couple of big shots by spinner Sunil Narine and Nitish Rana helped them to a three wickets win. KKR moved to 10 points from 11 matches and maintained their chances of reaching the knockout stage.

After restricting Delhi Capitals to 127/9 in 20 overs thanks to some disciplined bowling after electing to field, Kolkata Knight Riders looked in trouble as Dinesh Karthik was out with the score 96/5. But Sunil Narine tonked Kagiso Rabada for 21 off the innings’ 16th over and though the Knights lost a couple of more wickets, they managed to reach 130/7 with 10 balls remaining. Rana remained unbeaten on 36.

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After losing Venkatesh Iyer (14), who was one of the three KKR bowlers along with Narine and Lockie Ferguson to claim two wickets apiece, Kolkata were looking at fellow opener Shubman Gill and Rahul Tripathi to build up the innings. Gill kept one end going, hitting a couple of sixes but Tripathi did not last long and KKR were 43/2 in the 6th over. They lost Gill (3) and skipper Eoin Morgan (0) in quick succession and slumped to 67/4.

Though Dinesh Karthik and Rana tried to resurrect the innings, mixing caution with aggression, the equation looked a bit stiff at 52 off 43 balls considering the slow nature of the pitch. However, KKR scored 20 runs off the 14th over bowled by Lalit Yadav with Rana blasting a couple of sixes off successive balls and Karthik hitting a four. But Karthik got out, castled while trying to run a slower one by Avesh Khan to the third man, Delhi were still in the hunt.

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But Sunil Narine blazed two sixes and a four off Rabada in the 16th over, pushing KKR nearer to victory, which they achieved despite losing Narine and Tim Southee with victory in sight.

Earlier, Delhi Capitals kept losing wickets at regular intervals against some disciplined bowling KKR on a sluggish pitch in scorching conditions as they were restricted to 127/9.

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This was the second time in the season that Delhi failed to hit a single six in their innings. Kolkata had bowlers coming to the fore with Sunil Narine, Lockie Ferguson, and part-timer Venkatesh Iyer picking up two wickets each while Tim Southee had one scalp to his name.

Things looked difficult from the start as Delhi lost Shikhar Dhawan early.

Dhawan started by dispatching to the boundary a juicy full-toss on his pads by Sandeep Warrier and edged one behind for a boundary in Tim Southee’s first over too. However, he was the first to go as he tried to play on the up a short, wide one on the off and ended up lobbing it to Lockie Ferguson on the edge of the circle.

Shreyas Iyer joined him in the dugout as Delhi slumped to 40/2, bowled by Sunil Narine on his second delivery of the match. Iyer (1) failed to read the ball and was undecided whether to go forward or stay back as the ball pitched outside off and spun back to hit the off-stump.

Smith, playing his first match in the UAE leg of IPL 2021 in place of Prithvi Shaw who is injured, struck a couple of pleasing boundaries too as he held one end up. A well-swept boundary off Sunil Narine the pick of his shots. The former Australia skipper was out soon for 39 with Delhi 77/3 in 13th over. Smith was doing well but got out trying to pick up the scoring rate. He had comically hurt himself trying to play a premeditated scoop on the legside off Lockie Ferguson and played the ball into his inner thigh. He attempted to ugly hoick off the next delivery but was foxed by Ferguson who bowled at his usual pace and Smith just played over.

Shimron Hatmyer (4) and Lalit Yadav (0) were out in quick succession as Delhi at 90/5 lost three wickets for 13 runs. And when Axar Patel was out for a five-ball duck, they were 92/6, and the 150-160 that skipper Pant targeted at the start of the innings looked way too far.

Brief Scores: Delhi Capitals 127/9 in 20 overs (Rishabh Pant, 39, Steve Smith 39, Lockie Ferguson 2/10, Sunil Narine 2/18) lost to Kolkata Knight Riders 130/7 in 18.2 overs (Shubman Gill 30, Nitish Rana 36 not out, Sunil Narine 21; Avesh Khan 3/13, Anrich Nortje 1/15).

–IANS

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