Sharjah: Shreyas Iyer showed his class with a captain’s knock and pacer Anrich Nortje honoured his skipper’s heroics by bowling a splendid penultimate over in Delhi Capitals’ 18-run victory over Kolkata Knight Riders in a thrilling IPL match here on Saturday.
Iyer’s (88 no off 38 balls) magnificent power-hitting after Prithvi Shaw’s opening act propelled Delhi Capitals to an impressive 228 for four after being put into bat first by Dinesh Karthik.
If Iyer and Shaw weren’t not enough, Rishabh Pant (38 off 17 balls) dusted off his rustiness with a quickfire knock.
The target was difficult but not impossible but Delhi produced the best effort by a pace bowling unit on a placid track with KKR finishing at 210 for 8.
Harshal Patel, as Ishant Sharma’s replacement, did well enough to finish with 2 for 34 in 4 overs while the ever-improving Nortje (3/33 in 4 overs) was also impressive.
However, Kagiso Rabada (1/51 in 4 overs), who dismissed the dangerous Andre Russell (13) cheaply but was taken to task by Eoin Morgan (44 from 18 balls) and Rahul Tripathi (36 off 16 balls) in the 18th over, who gave away KKR 23 runs.
With 31 to get from 12 balls, Nortje bowled a superb 19th over getting rid of Morgan and only giving away five runs in the process.
With 26 needed off the last over, Marcus Stoinis (1/46 in 4 overs) proved his utility as a bowler by removing Tripathi with a slow yorker after being smashed by the batsman in an earlier over.
With their third win, Delhi (six points from four games) move to the top of the table.
Earlier, if the Powerplay belonged to Shaw, who blazed his way to 66 off 41 balls with four boundaries and as many sixes, Iyer dominated the remaining part of the innings with his silken smooth batting as he scythed the opposition attack with seven fours and half a dozen sixes.
A few of Iyer’s sixes landed either in the top tier or got lost in the car park adjoining the stadium, such was the timing rather than brute force that the DC skipper used.
Containment was never possible on such a track with Capitals batsmen hitting as many as 14 sixes and 18 boundaries in the entire innings.
After two good games, young Kamlesh Nagarkoti (1/35 in 3 overs) and Shivam Mavi (0/40 in 3 overs) got harsh lessons as Dinesh Karthik couldn’t risk completing their quota of overs.
Patrick Cummins (0/49 in 4 overs) was taken to task by Shaw in the Powerplay as he repeatedly cleared the in-field. Mavi opening the bowling also got hammered as he lost his length early on, bowling either too full or too short to the DC openers.
Such was Shaw’s form that even Shikhar Dhawan (26 off 16 balls) was overshadowed despite some decent hits in a 56-run opening stand.
However, the man who enthralled one and all was Iyer with some monstrous hits.
The two spinners Varun Chakravarthy (1/49 in 4 overs) and Sunil Narine (0/26 in 2 overs) were simply sent into the orbit....