he more things change, the more they remain the same. The saying fits perfectly with the perennially under-preforming Delhi Daredevils, who lost their first match of the season to Kolkata Knight Riders by nine wickets at the Eden Gardens here on Sunday.
In spite of making many changes to their squad in order to claim the title that has eluded DD for the last eight editions, Delhi once again made a pathetic start, setting another inglorious record -that of putting up the lowest IPL score at the Eden Gardens. Delhi folded up for just 98 runs in 17.4 overs after KKR skipper Gautam Gambhir won the toss and elected to bowl first. This is the seventh occasion in the IPL that DD have been bowled out for less than 100 runs.
It was almost a walk in the park for the hosts, who continued their good home run as Gambhir and Robin Uthappa shared a 69-run opening wicket stand that sealed the match for them. KKR reached home in 14.1 overs, losing Uthappa (35; 33b, 4×7), who became the fifth batsman to reach the 300-run club in the IPL. Gambhir stayed unbeaten on 38 (41b, 4×5).
Less than 24 hours after joining the Knights camp, Andre Russell got into the act to lead a strong bowling performance.
Showing no signs of jetlag, the West Indian all-rounder opened the bowling and took three wickets in three overs to set KKR on the way.
Russell went for 13 runs in his very first over, but came back strongly to pick up openers Quinton de Kock and Shreyas Iyer in his second over. He then had Mayank Agarwal caught at third man by Brad Hogg in his third over to finish his spell with figures of 3-0-24-3. With the other bowlers getting among the wickets, Gambhir didn’t have to bring back Russell for his final over.
John Hastings, who was picked ahead of Morne Morkel, had Karun Nair caught by his Karnataka teammate Manish Pandey at backward point. The Aussie pacer registered dream figures of 2.4-1-6-2.
Daredevils were in disarray at 35 for 4 at the end of the Power Play (6 overs). The visitors’ last hopes of a recovery faded when their high-profile recruit Carlos Brathwaite perished. West Indies’ WT20-winning hero began the way the 25,000-odd crowd wanted him to, lifting Piyush Chawla over the mid-wicket boundary for a six off the second delivery he faced. But the leg-spinner had his man two balls later as the West Indian failed to read a googly to be trapped in front of the wickets.
Chawla then combined with veteran Brad Hogg to run through the Daredevils tail.
Pawan Negi and Chris Morris, Delhi’s two big buys this season, looked out of sorts in the middle, failing to time their shots and managing 11 each. While Negi was stumped by Robin Uthappa off Hogg, Morris was castled by Chawla.
KKR opted to field Hogg instead of Shakib Al-Hasan and the leftarm chinaman bowler justified his selection with a haul of 3 for 19. Chawla claimed 2 for 21 from his four overs.
For some reason, for the second consecutive day, a team struggled badly after batting first. If the Mumbai Indians made 121-8 against Pune Supergiants at the Wankhede, the Delhi Daredevils folded up for 98 in just 17.4 overs against the Kolkata Knight Riders. This paltry score was never going to be enough to challenge the two-time champions.
Delhi Daredevils’ abysmal win-loss record in the last three IPL seasons before this game. Under a new coach – batting great Rahul Dravid – the Delhi team again got off to a forgettable start on Sunday, going down to Gautam Gambhir’s Knight Riders.
Carlos Brathwaite smashed his fifth consecutive six at the Eden Gardens when he slog swept the first ball he faced from Piyush Chawla for a six. The leg-spinner, however, had the last laugh when he castled the West Indian with a googly on six.
Age just a number: Brad Hogg would agree! At 45, the ‘chinaman’ from Australia continues to bamboozle the batsmen with his bag of tricks. On a pitch which aided spin, Hogg finished with three wickets on Sunday night.