In a match dominated by Indians – and on a day that saw six Test players fail to open their accounts in the IPL – it was the cool headedness of JP Duminy that shone brightest and secured Delhi Daredevils their first win of the tournament. Set a challenging 166, Daredevils rode on Dinesh Karthik’s brisk 55 but ultimately had an excellent unbeaten 52 off 35 balls from Duminy to thank as victory was achieved with four wickets and three deliveries remaining.
The continued absence of Kevin Pietersen would have been a downer for the fans gathered at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium, but they were still treated to an engaging game of Twenty20. There was some bounce in the track to assist the pace bowlers and keep the batsman wary of plonking their front feet forward, yet this did not result in a low-scoring game. After KKR’s openers went for ducks, the Karnataka pair of Manish Pandey and Robin Uthappa played punchy innings to help get their team to 166 for 5. In pursuit of 166, DD were jolted early but Karthik and Duminy ensured a fight and in the end a nail-biter was sealed with Duminy’s third six. A couple dropped catches and some missed run-out opportunities added to the quixotic nature of game seven of IPL 7.
The match had started terribly for KKR with Jacques Kallis edging his first ball to first slip where Ross Taylor held a good low take and Gautam Gambhir bagging a second consecutive pair, turning Nathan Coulter-Nile to a well placed leg slip. KKR were 11 for 2.
Pandey carried on from where he was cut off on Wednesday, producing a solid innings with an array of crisp drives and pulls. He ran well between the wickets and was quick to use the depth of his crease to work the ball into the gaps. Pandey dominated a stabilizing partnership of 64 with Uthappa with a 42-ball 48 which ended when he missed an arm ball from Shahbaz Nadeem in the 11th over.
Uthappa, who got a life on 7 when Taylor spilled an overhead catch at short midwicket, was on 15 off 19 balls at this stage and opened up with a flurry of boundaries. Favouring the leg-side, Uthappa hurried to 55 before he swung Jaydev Unadkar to Taylor at deep midwicket. The final over of the innings veered both teams’ way, as Coulter-Nile bowled three superb yorkers in between a wide and two boundary-balls.
A target of 166 pointed to a close finish and that’s how it turned out. After propping up KKR with the bat, Pandey gave them an early boost when he nailed a direct hit from backward point to run out Murali Vijay for 0. Mayank Agarwal batted in only one gear as he sped to 26 off 14 balls before top-edging a quick rising delivery from Morne Morkel to square leg, leaving DD at 39 for 2 in four overs.
Taylor, promoted to No 4 after batting two spots lower against Royal Challengers Bangalore, was the next to go when he played all over an inswinger from Kallis. Left to anchor the innings, Karthik played a sparkling innings in which he didn’t shy away from pulling out the big hits. Spin made its introduction for the tenth over in the form of Piyush Chawla, who was slammed over deep backward square leg for six and slammed to the point boundary off successive deliveries by Karthik. Sunil Narine appeared to bowl the 11th over but it wasn’t until the 15th that he struck, as Karthik missed a reverse-sweep and was sent on his way for 56 off 40 balls. Soon after that Manoj Tiwary sliced Morkel to Narine at third.
Shifting gears superbly, however, Duminy collected a four and two sixes of his South African team-mate Morkel, jumping around in his crease to swat consecutive sixes in the arc between square leg and short fine leg. Those brazen shots left DD to get 11 off 12 balls and though Chawla had Jimmy Neesham caught in the deep, Duminy swung the next ball over backward square leg for six. It was a truly exhilirating innings from Duminy.
Brief scores: Delhi Daredevils 167 for 6 in 19.3 overs (JP Duminy 52*, Dinesh Karthik 56) beat Kolkata Knight Riders 166 for 5 in 20 overs (Robin Uthappa 55, Manish Pandey; Nathan Coulter-Nile 2/27) by four wickets