Kolkata Knight Riders 200 for 9 (Rana 59, Russell 41, Tewatia 3-18) beat Delhi Daredevils 129 (Maxwell 47, Pant 43, Narine 3-18, Kuldeep 3-32) by 71 runs
Is Andre Russell the most valuable T20 player in the world? He has the stats (and the smart stats) to back such a claim, and on Monday he added to his vast body of work with a brief and brutal assault that transformed the mood of what had until then been an edgy battle for first-innings points.
Russell came in with Kolkata Knight Riders 113 for 4 in the 14th over. He departed 22 balls later, having added 61 to his team’s total in the company of the impressive Nitish Rana. He only faced 12 balls, but he hit six of them for six.
Knight Riders finished with exactly 200. This was a difficult target against Knight Riders’ spin attack, on a pitch offering a good amount of turn. Delhi Daredevils needed a strong start; they ended up slipping to 24 for 3. It was all uphill from there, and Daredevils didn’t have the legs for the climb, with none of their batsmen getting into double figures apart from Rishabh Pant and Glenn Maxwell, who threatened briefly to make this a contest with a 61-run stand for the fourth wicket in 33 balls.
Daredevils were bowled out for 129, with 5.4 overs still to play.
Uthappa and Rana make up for misfiring Narine and Lynn
Chris Lynn likes pace, but doesn’t score as quickly against spin. Sunil Narine likes spin, but isn’t too fond of fast, short bowling (16 off 20 balls against this type of bowling last season, and four dismissals). It’s a hard opening pair to plan against, and Daredevils went all pace at the start. It worked: Trent Boult started the game with the first maiden of the season, to an off-colour Lynn who struggled for timing, and then sent back Narine with a well-directed bouncer.
After that early dose of pace, it was all spin from overs 6-10, presumably in an effort to keep Lynn quiet. Daredevils managed that, as Lynn ended the 10th over batting on 28 off 25, but the batsmen at the other end compensated, with Robin Uthappa and Nitish Rana hitting five sixes between them in that phase. Knight Riders ended the first half of their innings at 85 for 2.
More to follow…