Kolkata Knight Riders’ Eoin Morgan (44, 18b, 1×4, 5×6) and Rahul Tripathi (36, 16b, 3×4, 3×6) turned a stiff chase into an exhibition of power-hitting before falling just 18 runs short of Delhi Capitals’ 229-run target in their IPL encounter in Sharjah on Saturday.
With KKR reeling at 122 for 6, Morgan and Tripathi brought their side back in contention with a pulsating 78-run stand. Morgan was particularly harsh on Kagiso Rabada (1 for 51), hitting him for a hat-trick of sixes in the 18th over. Tripathi matched his partner stroke for stroke as he collected 22 off Marcus Stoinis in the previous over. However, Anrich Nortje’s (3 for 33) dismissal of Morgan followed by Tripathi’s wicket off the final over saw DC home.
KKR suffered an early setback as it lost opener, Sunil Narine early. But Shubman Gill (28, 22b, 2×4, 1×6) and Nitish Rana (58, 35b, 4×4, 4×6) were unfazed and accumulated 59 runs in the first six overs. Rana was dropped on 27 by Amit Mishra off his bowling. But the leggie made amends in his next over, getting Gill caught by Rishabh Pant. Andre Russell briefly entertained, hitting a four and a six off Rabada before the latter got rid of the all-rounder for an 8-ball 13. Harshal Patel then removed Rana and Dinesh Karthik off successive deliveries in the 13th over to make life difficult for KKR.
Earlier, Iyer’s 38-ball 88 (7×4, 6×6) and Prithvi Shaw’s (66, 41b, 4×4, 4×6) quickfire half-century powered Delhi Capitals to the highest total of this edition — after KKR decided to bowl.
Capitals got off to a brisk start with Shaw and Shikhar Dhawan (26, 16b, 2×4, 2×6) adding 56 for the first wicket. Delhi had raced to 50 in the fifth over before the Kolkata side got a breakthrough when Varun Chakravarthy removed Dhawan in the last over of PowerPlay.
However, Shaw, in the company of captain Shreyas, continued to flourish. The opener sent a Shivam Mavi delivery over extra-cover and then hit another six over long on to bring up his half-century — his sixth in the IPL.
Despite the short boundaries, KKR had conceded just five sixes in the first 10 overs before DC started going big. Shaw and Shreyas waded into Varun in the 12th over, scoring 16 runs. But just as they looked to switch gears, Shaw fell.
Rishabh Pant (38, 17b) continued the acceleration. Shreyas, who reached his fastest fifty in the IPL (26b), was in no mood to relent as he put Varun to the sword, blasting 20 off his last over.