By Suhas Nayse – SJFI Member
ABU DHABI: It was high fives for Varun Chakravarthy and Kolkata Knight Riders in the Dream11 Indian Premier League at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Saturday. Leg-spinner Chakravarthy wreaked havoc as he finished with figures of 5 for 20 to bowl KKR to a big 59-run victory against Delhi Capitals.
The much-needed win has brought KKR back into contention for a playoff berth with 12 points from 11 matches. With three matches remaining, they would be hoping that they would maintain their fourth spot in the points tally.
Chasing a steep target of 195, DC could only manage to score 135 for 9 in 20 overs. Skipper Shreyas Iyer (47) tried to lead from the front but he could not get the proper support from the other end. Iyer was involved in a damage control act with Rishabh Pant (27) but Chakravarthy foiled their attempts.
The 29-year-old leggie from Tamil Nadu caught a web around the DC batsmen to claim his first five-wicket haul in the IPL. The tall bowler had earlier represented Kings XI Punjab without any notable achievements.
Pat Cummins picked up three wickets which included early twin strikes as the tall paceman sent back Ajinkya Rahane (0) and Shikhar Dhawan (0) quite cheaply. Lockie Ferguson also managed a wicket to restrict DC, who have 14 points and holding a second spot in the points table.
Earlier put in to bat by Iyer, a scintillating 115-run partnership off just 56 balls between Nitish Rana and Sunil Narine boosted KKR to 194 for 6 in 20 overs. Rana (81) and Narine (64) hammered half-centuries to help KKR amass a strong total. Skipper Eoin Morgan (17 not out) gave a perfect end to the innings with a little cameo.
KKR once again failed to make use of the first powerplay, managing just 36 runs for the loss of two wickets in Shubman Gill and Dinesh Karthik. But Rana and Narine put the innings back on track with a fearless batting display to floor DC.
KKR made a couple of changes to their batting-order in this outing which paid rich dividends. Rana was pushed to the opening slot while Narine was promoted to the fifth spot ahead of Morgan.
Brief scores: Kolkata Knight Riders 194 for 6 in 20 overs (Nitish Rana 81, Sunil Narine 64, Eoin Morgan 17 not out, Rahul Tripathi 13; Anrich Nortje 2-27, Kagiso Rabada 2-33, Marcus Stoinis 2-41) beat Delhi Capitals 135 for 9 in 20 overs (Shreyas Iyer 47, Rishabh Pant 27, Ravichandran Ashwin 14 not out, Shimron Hetmyer 10; Varun Chakravarthy 5-20, Pat Cummins 3-17, Lockie Ferguson 1-30) by 59 runs. Man-of-the-match: Varun Chakravarthy (KKR).