Capping up a perfect day of captains, after a match-winning knock from Virat Kohli earlier in the day, Shreyas Iyer led from the front to guide Delhi Capitals to a nerve-wrecking 18-run win against Kolkata Knight Riders in the Dream11 Indian Premier League match at the Sharjah Cricket ground on Saturday.
Delhi Capitals skipper Shreyas Iyer smacked eight boundaries and seven sixes in his blistering unbeaten 38-ball 88 to help his side amass 228 for 4 – which is the highest total in this year’s IPL. Together with Prithvi Shaw (66: 44 balls, 4×4, 4×6) and Rishabh Pant (38: 17 balls, 5×4, 1×6), Iyer powered Delhi to such a huge score from which they literally out-batted their opponents.
Chasing a herculean task, two-time champions Kolkata Knight Riders fought hard and made a valiant effort through Eoin Morgan, Nitish Rana and Rahul Tripathi but fell short of the mark by eighteen runs as they were restricted to 210 for 8.
At one stage, when KKR were struggling at 122 for 6 in the 14th over, it looked like DC would cruise to a win. However in a fierce late charge, Morgan (44: 18 balls, 1×4, 5×6) brought back his team in contention with five big hits. Tripathi (36: 16 balls, 3×4, 3×6) also rose to the occasion by smashing powerful shots.
Southpaw Morgan held the onus following the dismissals of Rana, Andre Russell and skipper Dinesh Karthik while chasing a record target of 229 runs. Morgan was caught at the mid-wicket fence by Hetmyer trying to hit another six which dealt a big blow to KKR’s hopes. In the next over, Marcus Stoinis cleaned up Tripathi to end KKR’s challenge.
Seamer Anrich Nortje bowled cleverly to return with 3 for 33, while fellow speedster Harshal Patel (2-34) gave him able support.
Earlier, the 25-year-old Iyer scored his fastest half-century ever in the cash-rich league. Opener Prithvi Shaw smashed 66 runs off 41 deliveries, in an innings comprising four boundaries and as many sixes. The duo further enjoyed support from wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant, who played a blinder of 17-ball 38. Walking in at 56 for 1 in the sixth over after the fall of Shikhar Dhawan’s wicket, Iyer displayed a range of shots all over the park.
Andre Russell was the pick of the bowlers for KKR, picking two for 29. Kamlesh Nagarkoti and Varun Chakravarthy chipped in with a wicket apiece.
With this third win, DC moved to top of the table. Both DC and RCB have six points from four matches but better net run-rate helped Iyer’s side claim the first position. KKR are lying fifth with four points from as many matches.
On Sunday, it will be another double decker. Defending champions Mumbai Indians will clash with Sunrisers Hyderabad at Sharjah (3.30 pm), while last year’s runners-up Chennai Super Kings will meet Kings XI Punjab at Dubai (7.30 pm).
Delhi Capitals 228 for 4 in 20 overs (Shreyas Iyer 88 not out, Prithvi Shaw 66, Rishabh Pant 38, Shikhar Dhawan 26, Shimron Hetmyer 7 not out; Andre Russel 2-29, Kamlesh Nagarkoti 1-35, Varun Chakravarthy 1-49) beat Kolkata Knight Riders 210 for 8 in 20 overs (Nitish Rana 58, Eoin Morgan 44, Rahul Tripathi 36, Shubman Gill 28, Andre Russel 13; Anrich Nortje 3-33, Harshal Patel 2-34, Amit Mishra 1-14, Marcus Stoinis 1-46, Kagiso Rabada 1-51) by 18 runs.
Man-of-the-match: Shreyas Iyer (Delhi Capitals).