Defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders kick-started their IPL 2013 campaign in grand style winning their first match of the competition in convincing fashion. The match was set up for KKR by their mystery spinner, Sunil Narine, who helped bowl out the Delhi Daredevils for 128, a total chased down in 18.4 overs. KKR won the contest by six wickets.
Chasing 129 to win on a slow Eden Garden's pitch, KKR started off slowly as Irfan Pathan bowled a first over maiden. Ashish Nehra got the initial strike sending Manvinder Bisla (4) packing. Knight Rider's captain, Gautam Gambhir smashed a boundary and a six off consecutive deliveries in Pathan's second over and with that the KKR bandwagon got rolling. Gambhir along with Jaques Kallis (23) added 47 runs for the second wicket, before the latter was caught at deep midwicket off Shahbaz Nadeem.
Gambhir led from the front cutting and driving aggressively before Johan Botha trapped him leg before for 43. But by then KKR’s asking rate was down to under six. Eoin Morgan (14*) and Yusuf Pathan (18*) saw the team through to a well deserved win with eight balls remaining.
Earlier in the evening, KKR who won the toss, put DD in and were rewarded immediately as Brett Lee castled Unmukt Chand's (0) off the very first delivery. DD who were missing the services of Kevin Pietersen and Jesse Ryder were further weakened by the absence of Virender Sehwag due to an injury.
Bhatia struck twice in three balls, removing Naman Ojha (9) and Botha (7) to reduce DD to 88 for 5 and Narine followed it up with the wickets of Irfan Pathan (4) and Russell Arnold (4) to leave DD struggling to put together a partnership. Skipper Mahela Jayawardene played the lone hand for Daredevils as he kept the innings together with a cautious 66 from 52 balls. He fell at the end of the 19th over, his team eventually bundled out for 128 runs from their 20 overs.
3: The number of times Sunil Narine has 4 wickets or more in an IPL match. He now shares the record of most four-wicket hauls in IPL with Anil Kumble, Munaf Patel, Lakshmipathy Balaji and Lasith Malinga.
5.33: Is Sunil Narine’s economy in the IPL – best for any bowler sending down 10 or more overs.
13: The Number of times a batsman has been dismissed off the very first ball of an IPL match. Unmukt Chand is the second Delhi Daredevils batsman to suffer this fate after Gautam Gambhir (vs Chennai Super Kings at Durban in 2009).
16: Number of matches taken by Sunil Narine to reach the 25-wicket mark in the IPL. He is the quickest to do so along with Doug Bollinger.
51.56: The percentage contribution made by Mahela Jayawardene in Delhi Daredevils’ total – third highest in an all-out innings in the IPL, after Rahul Dravid (52.38% for Royal Challengers Bangalore vs King XI Punjab at Bengaluru in 2008) and Kumar Sangakkara (51.65% for Kings XI Punjab vs Mumbai Indians at Mohali in 2008.
62.50: Gautam Gambhir’s win-percentage in the IPL (30 wins in 48 games) – highest for any player captaining in five or more games.
Man-of-the-Match: Sunil Narine (4-0-13-4)
Brief scores: Delhi Daredevils 128 in 20.0 overs [Mahela Jayawardene 66, Sunil Narine 4-13] lost to Kolkata Knight Riders 129-4 in 18.4 overs [Gautam Gambhir 43, Shahbaz Nadeem 2-22].
|Yusuf Pathan is presented with the Yes Bank Maximum sixes award during the opening match of the Pepsi Indian Premier League between the Kolkata Knight Riders and The Delhi Daredevils held at the Eden Gardens Stadium in Kolkata on the 3rd April 2013|
Eoin Morgan: "Delighted to get start, glad to be back in the team and off to a great start. We talked about early wickets before the game, Sunil Narine is an outstanding player, on this wicket it is difficult to put him away, builds pressure and takes wickets.The momentum is with us, and long may it continue."
|Sunil Narine is presented with the Man of the match award during the opening match of the Pepsi Indian Premier League between the Kolkata Knight Riders and The Delhi Daredevils held at the Eden Gardens Stadium in Kolkata on the 3rd April 2013|
Gambhir: "Restricting the opposition to 128 was a fantastic effort. We are a very good fielding side as well. I still feel Balaji did a very good job, so did Binga.. overall everyone did a very good job. 150 was a good total, but we wanted to be positive when we started the chase. Points on the table is always very satisfying."
Jayawardene: "When we started batting, we realised it was a very slow wicket. We knew 145 would be a very good total, but we kept losing wickets, and Sunil bowled very well too. Quite happy with the way the boys played, it is a different combination for Delhi this season, it will take a while to get going."
Man of the Match is Sunil Narine: "It assists the spinners a lot, everyone played their part. Lit more turn and bounce than last year. I think I was on top of Russell today, but you never know what can happen."