Delhi Daredevils v Kolkata Knight Riders, IPL 2017, Delhi April 17, 2017

Pandey, Yusuf give KKR top position after tense chase

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Kolkata Knight Riders 169 for 6 (Pandey 69*, Yusuf 59, Zaheer 2-28) beat Delhi Daredevils 168 for 7 (Samson 39, Pant 38, Coulter-Nile 3-22) by 4 wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

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Highlights - Pandey wins thriller against Delhi

Kolkata Knight Riders displayed the batting depth that has made them one of the most consistent sides in the IPL, pulling off the highest successful IPL chase for a side losing three wickets in the first three overs. Yusuf Pathan and Manish Pandey rescued them from 21 for 3 with the first century fourth-wicket partnership in the IPL for a team three down for under 25.

The end didn't come without hiccups, though: after Yusuf fell for 59 off 39, leaving Knight Riders 38 to get off 31, Daredevils scrambled hard and brought it down to eight required off three balls, which Pandey managed with one ball to go. That this came on a pitch markedly better for hitting the new ball, and against arguably the best bowling unit of this IPL so far, made it even more special.

Daredevils, the slowest side in the middle overs - seven to 15 - were once again left to rue that slowdown. A blinder from Rishabh Pant - 38 off 16 - gave them a finishing kick, but that only took them to a fighting total.

The Samson slowdown

Sanju Samson is the only man with a century this IPL. Even in that innings, he went through a curious pattern: a flying start of 35 off 19, then only 13 off the next 19, and then the final kick. Once again, the moment spin came on, Samson went from 27 off 12 to just 12 off the next 13 balls. The problem with such slowdowns is, you put yourself under pressure to make up later in the innings, and not always do you get that chance. Here he edged Umesh Yadav, and 36 for 0 in three overs had now become 63 for 2 in 7.5 overs.

The Nair slowdown

Ever since his Test triple-century against England in December, Nair is yet to put together an innings of 30 in any format of official cricket. More than the lack of runs, though, it was his sub-100 strike rate that hurt Daredevils. Even though Shreyas Iyer batted fluently at the other end, the runs just didn't come fast enough for the hosts. Iyer was run out trying to manufacture a second and keep the strike, and Nair just had to hit out and expose his stumps for a 27-ball 21. Daredevils 110 for 4 in 15, having scored just 57 in the last nine, lower than their usual middle-overs rate of 7.22 an over.

The knock

Pant is not just knocking at the door for the Champions Trophy selection. He is thumping at it with a tree trunk. In one of the rare bowling errors from Knight Riders, Umesh Yadav bowled a whole over - 17th - of regulation pace to Pant. The challenger to MS Dhoni's slot in India's limited-overs sides then peppered all boundaries for 6, 4, 6, 6, 4 to consign Umesh to his worst IPL over.

Sunil Narine and Nathan Coulter-Nile, though, followed up with exceptional overs. Narine, who bowled two overs inside the Powerplay for just eight runs, took out Angelo Mathews in the 18th to end up with figures of 4-0-20-1. In the 19th, Coulter-Nile did the opposite of Umesh - bowling slow and away from the batsmen as opposed to fast and within their reach - and took out Pant, and missed out on Chris Morris twice with catches going down. Damage control, though, had been done.

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Opening gambit

With most runs expected off the new ball, the first six overs were going to be electric. This was a contest between the fastest batting unit inside Powerplay and the bowling side with the best economy and average inside Powerplays. With the canny Zaheer Khan running his fingers over the seam of the new ball, Knight Riders lost a wicket each in the first three, including that of surprise opener Colin de Grandhomme.

The partnership

It was all Yusuf and Pandey now. Yusuf bolted first, taking on Morris and Pat Cummins, who provided him regulation pace. Then the two targeted Amit Mishra, picked as the only spinner ahead of Shahbaz Nadeem, who has gone at 4.9 an over this IPL. They kept finding the boundary, never letting the asking rate go beyond nine.

The closing gambit

Yusuf, though, fell with the job unfinished. With 34 required to score in the last five, Daredevils managed overs of six, six, six and seven. This was Cummins and Morris with lessons learnt from their earlier mistakes, bowling slower ones repeatedly, one of them getting Suryakumar Yadav caught at mid-off. The last ball of the 19th over was bowled at regulation pace, but it was a yorker, which meant Pandey was off strike at the start of the last over.

Now Zaheer took the gamble. Eight to defend in the last over is not a lot, and with Chris Woakes on strike, Zaheer went to Mishra. Mishra responded beautifully with a flighted wrong'un and legbreak first up. The legbreak got Woakes stumped. Now there was big tension in the dugout. Narine walked out and calmly took a single. It was now down to Pandey to see through what he had started.

Having bowled three flighted deliveries so far, Mishra now fired one in at the sight of a specialist batsman. Pandey was expecting it. He went deep in his crease, and drilled it over long-on. Perhaps Mishra would have been better off keeping it slow because it had become really hard to generate power into shots by now. He didn't, and Pandey was there to cash in.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • SammySoSo on April 18, 2017, 22:36 GMT

    Sakib has always performed for KKR. I am surprised that he has been warming the benches so far. He won't mind the rest though. He has been playing a lot of tests and ODIs and T20s for Bangladesh lately. Scored enough (including a double ton) and took enough wickets (several 5 ers against top opposition - not Afghanistan or Zimbabwe) to keep his top All-rounder ranking intact. Thank you KKR for giving our best player some well deserved rest. We need him rested and strong for the series to follow.

  • Cricinfouser on April 18, 2017, 20:01 GMT

    Surya Yadav is the chink in armor of KKR. He doesnt bowl and is very ordinary with the bat. His fielding is good(barring the MI game) but that shouldnt automatically place him in playing XI. KKR should seriously start looking for another Indian player for the number 6 spot.

    The game against a weak GL side is good opportunity to give a few key players rest and try out a couple bench warmers. Maybe try Powell and Shakib instead of Woakes and Grandhomme to see how much in form they are.

  • suprarc on April 18, 2017, 11:03 GMT

    Billings is fine in opening... U don't need long innings in t20s.. 35-55 will do.. but at any cost get rid of Nair, bring in Bawne

  •   cricfan6781618894 on April 18, 2017, 9:41 GMT

    Sam billings does not seem to hav the potential to play a long T20 innings. Neither he is a hard or terrific hitter. I dont believe in Sanju as an opener. But on his current touch DD has to go with it. Karun Nair cant do any anything big in the middle or end. Mathews is waste. He can perform only in 1 out of 10 matches. Also he is afraid of losing his wicket.

    So better line up could be

    1. Karun Nair 2. Shreyas Iyer 3. Sanju Samson/ Rishabh Pant 4. Rishabh Pant / Sanju Samson 5. Sam Billings 6. Corey Anderson 7. Chris Morris 8. Pat Cummins 9. Amit Mishra 10. Shahabas Nadeem 11. Zaheer Khan

  • anks30 on April 18, 2017, 6:15 GMT

    Kkr..why is hitter like rovman powell oiling his bat on the bench ? Defies logic. He is as much an allrounder as andre russell

  • Deepak_Shankar on April 18, 2017, 5:44 GMT

    As much as I love Dravid as a player as a mentor his logic always defies me since his days as a mentor of RR. IPL is a platform for promoting Indian talent true but the franchise you represent expects you to win games for them too. While in RR he used to send Indian players ahead when you need power hitters to finish game and those players would simply waste deliveries and get out leaving too much to desire for power hitters and then loose game. DD is loosing close games here and some players are playing on despite poor form due to Dravid's large heartedness and love for indian players Would love to see horses for courses in the coming games for DD than mere talent promotion

  • India_Rocks on April 18, 2017, 5:29 GMT

    As far as KKR goes Surya is absolutely waste with only one shot over fine leg in his book. He can't play the cover drive, straight drive, nothing. He should be replaced with Jaggi. So unfair on him after having such a prolific season. Because of Surya KKR lost against MI(sloppy fielding and slow batting), almost against SRH(threw his wicket in death overs), and also did everything he could expecting KKR's loss against DD by unnecessarily hiking the required run rate.

  • India_Rocks on April 18, 2017, 5:12 GMT

    @VENKYIND agreed that Dhoni brought the likes of Ashwin, Jaddu, Umesh, Bhuvi, Shami into the team. But the truth is as a captain he was not able to get the best out of any of them. For defeats, they would be blamed and no wonder they didn't play for their captain. Now they can do anything for the captain and Virat gets the best out of them. It's true MSD has a fantastic record but those were due to batting performances of Kohli, Rohit even Dhoni. You can't do much as a captain when you're batting. It's only during bowling the captain comes into the picture with field placements, bowling changes and India was never a good bowling team under MSD. As far as Karun is concerned that 300 was special because of how he paced his innings. He didn't take much time to reach 300 from 100 knowing innings can be declared anytime.

  •   Cricinfouser on April 18, 2017, 5:11 GMT

    @venkyind, You are right. Karun Nair is not to be blamed. The blame should be on the Team Management including Zaheer Khan for including a dodgy batsman who can play the test where he will stay hours. He is unfit to such a fast T20 format where he should not waste 27 balls to score only 21 with a single boundary. Dravid likes him because he is his type of batsman. It is very obvious from the match that DD lacked 10 runs in their total which was only due to the poor batting performance of Karun Nair. Zaheer should have sent Rishab Pant and Morris ahead of him who would have taken the score near to 200 which could have been a nightmare for KKR. The match was gifted to them due to the inclusion of Nair or due to the line up. Nair cannot even bat like a bowler like Mishra or Shami.

  • Rejaul5 on April 18, 2017, 4:59 GMT

    kkr should give Grandhomme one more game to prove his batting otherwise drop him because right now he isnt doing anything. they could bring in Darren Bravo to provide stability in middle order and maybe let Surya open the batting to give the quick start they have been looking for. shuffle between Shakib/Boult/Woakes depending on the pitch.

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