After Sunil Narine and Nathan Coulter- Nile's impressive bowling, half centuries by Yusuf Pathan and Manish Pandey enabled Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) to seal a thrilling four-wicket win over Delhi Daredevils in an Indian Premier League (IPL) 2017 contest at the Feroz Shah Kotla here on Monday.
It was team effort for the KKR with Narine and Coulter-Nile first helping restrict Delhi to 168 for seven, and then Pathan (59) and Pandey (69 not out) leading the chase to perfection as they won with a ball to spare.
Chasing a modest 169 for victory, Kolkata lost three quick wickets to be reeling at 21 for three before Pathan and Pandey joined hands to put on a crucial 110-run stand off just 72 balls for the fourth wicket.
It went down to the wire in the end with KKR needing nine runs from the last over. The first two balls from Amit Mishra resulted in dots as well as a wicket.
With the third ball yielding a run, Pandey got to the strike and straight away hit a much-needed six to KKR's relief. He eventually sealed it off in style with one ball remaining.
But after Pathan's dismissal, Daredevils had their chances but KKR managed to have the last laugh.
Despite Kolkata struggling at one stage, Pathan dealt in fours and sixes to not just show his batting prowess but keep the team in the hunt. He, in the able company of Pandey, ensured that the Knight Riders were always in the game. Pathan brought up his half-century in style as he hit Delhi skipper Zaheer Khan for a six.
The duo slowly and steadily stole the match away from the home team but Pathan failed to finish it for KKR as he fell for a well-made 59 off 39 balls, which included six boundaries and two sixes.
Pandey remained unbeaten on 69 off 49 balls studded with four fours and three sixes.
Zaheer, on his part, showed that the class is permanent as he finished with figures of two for 28 from his four overs, while Pat Cummins took two for 39.
Zaheer struck in the opening over of the innings to remove KKR's debutant de Grandhomme, who holed out a short of length delivery to give a simple catch to Sam Billings at deep square leg.
The next over saw Cummins getting belted for two boundaries by Gambhir and one from Uthappa before the Australian hit back with the wicket of the KKR stumper on the last ball of the over.
The third over witnessed the fall of an in-form Gambhir, who found a leading edge from Zaheer to be smartly latched on by Angelo Mathews running back a few steps at backward point. The southpaw faced 12 deliveries and fired two boundaries.
Earlier, wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant's late surge helped Delhi Daredevils reach 168/7 after the hosts squandered a promising start by the openers in an Indian Premier League (IPL) 2017 contest against KKR.
Sunil Narine and Nathan Coulter- Nile's controlled bowling effort enabled KKR restrict Delhi to 168 despite solid opening partnership.
Electing to bat, Delhi rushed to a 50-run opening stand in just 4.4 overs with the opening duo of Sanju Samson (39) and Sam Billings (21) sending the KKR bowlers on a leather hunt. The opening pair laid a solid platform for Delhi with a quick 53-run opening stand but after the two got dismissed, KKR bowlers led by Nathan Coulter-Nile dominated the middle overs to put a leash on the increasing run-rate.
For Delhi, it was young Pant, who smashed 38 off 16 balls to take the team past 160-run mark.
It was the 17th over bowled by Umesh Yadav, which yielded 26 runs. Pant launched into a furious assault hitting him for three sixes and two fours in that over.
Coulter-Nile was the pick of the Kolkata bowlers, finishing with impressive figures of three for 22, while Narine chipped in with economical one for 20.
To begin with, Samson took the Kolkata bowlers by the scruff of their necks, and was dealing in boundaries since the very first over.
The only centurion of the season so far, Samson made his intentions clear from the very beginning, hitting Nathan Coulter-Nile for two back-to-back boundaries, which saw the Daredevils getting off the blocks in the opening over of the match.
Billings, ably supported Samson, rotating the strike well and hitting occasional boundaries. Samson was severe on Umesh Yadav as he struck him for three boundaries to set the tone for the Daredevils to reach a competitive total.
Umesh was the most expensive of the KKR bowlers with figures of 4-0-53-1.
Even the introduction of Kuldeep Yadav and Narine failed to stop Delhi as they cruised to 53 for no loss in the Powerplay overs.
It was between overs 10 to 16 that Delhi managed only 36 runs despite a good start before Pant carried out a redemption act during the end overs.
For Delhi, pacer Mohammed Shami was included in place of left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem while all-rounder Angelo Mathews replaced an unwell Corey Anderson.
KKR made just one change in their playing XI with pacer Nathan Coulter-Nile coming in place of Trent Boult.
Sanju Samson c Uthappa b Umesh Yadav 39
Sam Billings c Uthappa b Coulter-Nile 21
Karun Nair b Coulter-Nile 21
Shreyas Iyer run out (de Grandhomme/Uthappa) 26
Rishabh Pant c Gambhir b Coulter-Nile 38
Angelo Mathews b Narine 1
Chris Morris c Umesh Yadav b Woakes 16
Pat Cummins not out 3
Mohammed Shami not out 0
Extras (b 1, w 2) 3
Total (in 20 overs) 168 for 7
Fall of wickets: 1-53 (Billings, 6.1 ov), 2-63 (Samson, 7.5 ov), 3-106 (Iyer, 13.2 ov), 4-110 (Nair, 14.6 ov), 5-145 (Mathews, 17.2 ov), 6-153 (Pant, 18.1 ov), 7-167 (Morris, 19.5 ov)
Nathan Coulter-Nile 4-0-22-3
Chris Woakes 4-0-31-1
Umesh Yadav 4-0-53-1
Sunil Narine 4-0-20-1
Kuldeep Yadav 3-0-29-0
Colin de Grandhomme 1-0-12-0
Kolkata Knight Riders:
Gautam Gambhir c Mathews b Khan 14
Colin de Grandhomme c Billings b Khan 1
Robin Uthappa c Pant b Cummins 4
Manish Pandey not out 69
Yusuf Pathan c & b Morris 59
Suryakumar Yadav c Khan b Cummins 7
Chris Woakes st Pant b Mishra 3
Sunil Narine not out 1
Extras (lb 3, w 8) 11
Total (in 19.5 overs) 169 for 6
Fall of wickets: 1-5 (de Grandhomme, 0.5 ov), 2-19 (Uthappa, 1.6 ov), 3-21 (Gambhir, 2.5 ov), 4-131 (Pathan, 14.5 ov), 5-152 (SA Yadav, 17.5 ov), 6-160 (Woakes, 19.2 ov)
Zaheer Khan 4-0-28-2
Pat Cummins 4-0-39-2
Chris Morris 4-0-30-1
Amit Mishra 2.5-0-26-1
Mohammed Shami 3-0-28-0
Angelo Mathews 2-0-15-0.