Delhi Capitals struggled with an easy chase following a middle-class collapse, before taking a comfortable four-wicket win over a lackluster Kolkata Knight Riders in Mumbai on Thursday, keeping their hopes of IPL play-off qualification alive. Chasing an easy target of 147, DC was 84 for five and 113 for six at various stages of the innings before Rovman Powell (33 not out) again showed his great decisiveness to get DC past the goal with an over to spare . The hero of the win was certainly Kuldeep Yadav, with a game-changing 4 for 14 when KKR struck.
While DC is sixth by 10 points, KKR remained in third from the bottom, and the chopping and switching to the side is proof that not all is well in the camp of the Shah Rukh Khan franchise.
Whether big bosses, coaching staff and captain Shreyas Iyer are all on the same page is currently a million dollar question as they suffered a loss for the fifth time in a row.
It wasn’t easy defending a total of 146, but Umesh Yadav (3/24) gave his best as he started brilliantly with a diving return from the DC innings’ first-ever delivery to bring Prithvi Shaw (0) back to send.
David Warner (42 from 26 balls) had good contact and added 65 for the third wicket with Lalit Yadav (22 from 22 balls), while DC rode on with 82 for two.
But it soon became 84 for five, as both set batters were removed in quick succession and skipper Rishabh Pant (2) played a bad shot to bring KKR back into the game.
Axar Patel’s needless runout (24 from 17 balls) after being well seeded made it 113 for six, and more importantly, 34 to get into five overs.
KKR captain Shreyas Iyer had to redo one from his regular bowler and Powell took advantage of that by sending Venkatesh Iyer for a six from the very first ball. The 17th over yielded 18 runs and it changed the fate for Delhi.
Previously, KKR’s much-vaunted batting lineup imploded and failed to get a grip on Kuldeep Yadav’s trickery and deceit before Nitish Rana’s half-century became a face saver.
A host of changes in the playing XI seemed to have affected KKR’s balance sheet as their innings lacked momentum, except for Shreyas Iyer (42 off 37 balls) and Rana (57 off 34 balls), who tried to get a move.
Rana’s partnership of 62 for the seventh wicket with Rinku Singh (23 from 16 balls) proved to be a saving grace after the two-time champions dropped to 83 for six in one stage.
Kuldeep, who is in the midst of a stellar season, finished 4 for 14, including the wickets of Shreyas and the dangerous Andre Russell. He now has 17 wickets and one short of Yuzvendra Chahal’s 18 scalps and performance was another reminder of his old franchise that didn’t exactly look after him when the chips ran out.
If Kuldeep wreaked havoc in the middle overs, it was Mustafizur Rahaman (3/18 in 4 overs), who was brilliant at death, giving up just two runs and taking three wickets in the last left.
The way Kuldeep used the flight in one delivery and suddenly picked up the pace in the other was for all to see. It was a little surprising that skipper Rishabh Pant didn’t finish his quota of overs.
In the case of domestic veteran Baba Indrajith (6 of 8 balls), who suffered from nerves for the debut game after waiting 10 years for this day, Kuldeep flew one, but the batter failed to make the field of the pitch. and was not given the height to enter the depths.
Sunil Narine (0) got a classic wrist spinner for the left arm that twisted the other way and got stuck on the back foot.
KKR skipper Shreyas chased a delivery to get some sort of bottom rim that grabbed Pant, with nice reflexes.
Russell (0) was beaten in flight and changed the pace of labor while shortening the length. Although it was a clumsy punch from the DC Skipper, it was exactly the result they wanted.
Early on, Australian cue skipper Aaron Finch played over an inswinger from Chetan Sakariya to be bowled, while Venkatesh Iyer fell again due to a poorly planned sweep shot by Axar Patel.
Then Rana braved DC and saved KKR from getting anything under 100.