KKR bash royals; Daredevils on the board

18 Apr 2011 by Raj in IPL 2011

Kolkata Knight Riders 85 for 2 beat Rajasthan Royals 81 (Balaji 3-15) by eight wickets

Man of the Match: Laxmipathy Balaji

The Kolkata Knight Riders certainly look a different and more confident outfit under Gautam Gambhir as opposed to the previous three seasons. And this difference was clearly evident on Sunday, when the thrashed the Rajasthan Royals by eight wickets in a thoroughly comprehensive manner, in this case the margin of defeat said it all. Batting first, Rajasthan Royals crumbed under the pressure of some good bowling, especially by Laxmipathy Balaji and some incredible fielding, which culminated in run outs, to knock down the Rajasthan Royals to a miserable 81 all out. In reply, Gautam Gambhir and Manoj Tiwary then combined forces to kill any hopes of a Royal fightback courtesy two quick wickets by featuring in a sedate partnership that eventually blossomed into a match winning one.

Even as contributions came from all around, it was Balaji’s man of the match winning effort that was most crucial. After all, he took out the dangerous Shane Watson, who had come at the back of his record breaking 185 not out in Bangladesh. It needed something special to see the back of Watson, and Balaji produced one such delivery on Sunday, which pitched on the middle stump and left Watson enough to beat his wide bat and click the off stump. Not surprisingly, wild celebrations followed. Balaji returned in his second spell to claim two more victims. The dismissals weren’t as dramatic but crucial nonetheless and were taken with two wicket taking deliveries indeed. He first cleaned up with an off cutter which kept low and two which the batsman from Mumbai had little idea how to deal with. Next, he got Ashok Maneria, who perished trying to break the shackles but only ended up skying a catch.

Balaji finished with figures of 3 for 15 and inspired the others too. The fielding was, in particular, exceptional. Faiz Fazal fell following a misunderstanding as Iqbal Abdulla produced a diving stop off his own bowling and threw down the stumps at the non striker’s end. To make matters worse, another confusion between Abhishek Raut and Maneria resulted in the dismissal of the former. Shakib Al Hasan did not make any mistake in the field and wicket keeper Manvinder Bisla easily did the rest. A key moment in the game came when Ross Taylor was at the crease. The one man who could turn any game on its head overbalanced going for a flick of a delivery down the leg side. Wicket keeper Bisla was alert enough to take off the bails in a flash and Taylor was found short of his crease.

At 67 for 5, it was good as a hopeless case for the Royals and, along with Balaji, Shakib too took the occasion to get among the wickets. He cleaned up both Amit Singh and Shaun Tait with arm balls of varying length, but neither had a clue. The hat trick was averted, but Brett Lee returned to dismantle Siddharth Trivedi’s furniture and the Royal mess was complete. Tait gave some faint hopes to the Royals as Kallis failed to read a bouncer from the speedster and fell hanging his bat embarrassingly. A little later, Bisla was overpowered by the genius of Shane Warne after the former had an almighty struggle in the middle. However, Gambhir and Tiwary bided their time by and once they got their easy in it was an ‘as easy as it gets’ victory.

 

Delhi Daredevils 190 for 7 beat Pune Warriors 187 for 5 by three wickets

Man of the match: Yuvraj Singh

Yuvraj Singh was the man of the match in the game between the Pune Warriors and Delhi Daredevils, but it was one of those rare occasions when a person from the losing side gets the player of the game award. It was one of those days on Sunday at the D. Y Patil stadium as Yuvraj bludgeoned 66 from 32 balls and later picked up four wickets for 29 runs. Yet, the Daredevils had enough firepower left to sneak in a victory. It was a tough chase made tougher thanks to Yuvraj’s all round effort. First, he and Jesse Ryder put up a magnificent effort with the bat to take the Warriors to a highly challenging 187 for 5. Later, Yuvraj got breakthroughs at crucial intervals to keep the Daredevils innings in check after some explosive early batting. However, there was precious little from others in the form of support, which allowed Delhi to escape and snatch their first win of the tournament.

The foundation for the Daredevils’ win was laid by a superb opening stand between David Warner and Virender Sehwag. The two swashbucklers were in their elements as they added 75 in seven overs before Warner fell in the only was he seemed likely to get out – run out. But, before his departure, he ensured Delhi had the upper hand in the game. He took a special liking to Wayne Parnell as well as Alfonso Thomas, and most of his boundaries and sixes came of the duo’s bowling. The South African pair had no answer to the Aussie’s assault as Delhi made the most of the power play overs.

Skipper Sehwag too played his part in the opening act, slamming six fours in a 23 ball knock of 37 before his stumps were knocked back by an innocuous Ryder delivery. At 97 for 2, Delhi were still on top, but this where Yuvraj took over. He sent back Irfan Pathan and Naman Ojha off consecutive deliveries to bring the game back on an even keel. Rahul Sharma assisted him at the other end dismissing Matthew Wade as 97 for 2 quickly became 120 for 5. However, Delhi had an ace up their sleeve which turned the game right back in their favour.

Venugopal Rao and Aaron Finch were both held back, a move which could have easily backfired but didn’t. On the contrary, they combined to score 56 runs between themselves in 32 deliveries, one over from Shrikant Wagh going for 20 runs and changing the equally. And in spite of the fact that Yuvraj dismissed both Rao and Finch in the penultimate over, James Hopes saw them through with a couple of crushing hits.

Yuvraj would have believed he had done enough, but the combined forces of Delhi outpowered his solo act.

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