Iyer made unbeaten 93 to hand DD a massive 55-run win.
A packed Kotla, that had come out to support Delhi Daredevil’s seemingly last attempt to turn around a thus-far wretched campaign, got their money’s worth as the batsmen, led by the promoted Shreyas Iyer, put up a show with the highest order of late-hitting to take the contest beyond Kolkata Knight Riders’ reach on Friday (April 27). Their bowling then came to the party, keeping their nerve and inflicting damage at regular intervals. More importantly, this means that Daredevils have notched up only their second win in the first half of their league stage.
The surprise came at the toss. Gautam Gambhir gave up his captaincy, reportedly let go of his 2.8 crore salary and tonight decided to give up his spot in the side too. Perhaps that was the oxygen Daredevils required at the top; with Colin Munro and Prithvi Shaw getting them off to a flier in the powerplay – their best of the season.
He may have had loads of runs in the Ranji season, he may have led India to glory in the Under-19, but on the big night, in a must-win of sorts for Daredevils, Shaw stepped up. And in sheer style. In a 44-ball knock of 62, which included seven fours and two sixes, he set up the platform beautifully for the carnage that was to follow.
Never mind the pressure of captaincy at a desperate time, Iyer took his already good form a notch higher. He started off playing second fiddle to Shaw – with a 22-ball 32 – but once he fell, Iyer seamlessly switched gears to bring up his next 61 runs off just 18 balls.
Poor Shivam Mavi was at the receiving end. After Robin Uthappa put down a tough catch at the boundary in his third over, he seemed lost for ideas, resorting to predictable lengths. And Iyer made sure he took full toll – milking 47 runs off his final two overs to catapult the team to their second-highest total ever in the history of the IPL.
The one thing Kolkata needed to make a contest out of this was to maximise their powerplay. Narine did smoke a few in his short nine-ball stay for 26, but Lynn, Uthappa and Rana falling cheaply didn’t help their cause. While Lynn fell to his mental demons against pretty innocuous part-time spin of Glenn Maxwell, sheer pace had the better of Uthappa and Rana.
There’s never something as too high an asking rate when Andre Russell’s out there in the middle. Thanks to the collapse, a promoted Shubhman Gill gave him good company as the duo took on the spinners with some big middle overs. But the confusion, or the lack of intent rather in going for a second against Iyer’s strong arm had him short of his ground. And once he fell, Russell seemed to give up too, scoring just the one run in his last thirteen balls, before Avesh Khan with his pace cleaned him up.
A renewed Daredevils head to Pune to face off a rampaging Chennai Super Kings at their adopted home. Make no mistake, their campaign still remains at a desperate point, but it’s nothing new for their coach Ricky Ponting, who has dealt with a similar situation in 2015 with the Mumbai Indians, a season where they remarkably turned their campaign around to win the season. Knight Riders stay on the road, travelling to Bangalore in the quest to reverse this downward momentum.
Brief scores: DD 219/4 in 20 overs (Shreyas Iyer 93*, Prithvi Shaw 62; Andre Russell 3/28) beat KKR 164/9 in 20 overs (Andre Russell 44, Shubhman Gill 37; Glenn Maxwell 2/22, Amit Mishra 2/23) by 55 runs