It turned out to be a sweet 'homecoming' for Gautam Gambhir as Kolkata Knight Riders comprehensively beat Delhi Daredevils by 17 runs to notch up their fourth win in the Indian Premier League at the Feroz Shah Kotla on Thursday.
Put into bat, Manoj Tiwary's gutsy half century helped KKR post a modest 148 for seven and then their bowlers got the dangerous Virender Sehwag and David Warner within the first seven overs to restrict the home to 131 for nine.
The win took KKR to eight points while Delhi stay put on four following their fifth loss and their road to recovery from here looks pretty bleak.
Not only it was satisfying for Gambhir to earn the bragging rights over best buddy Sehwag but it also brought the smile back in the face of Shah Rukh Khan who enjoyed his first victory in his hometown as he shook a leg with Cheer Girls to the tune of Korbo Lorbo Jeetbo Re.
The Daredevils this season are highly dependent on Virender Sehwag-David Warner combination. While Warner dragged one from Balaji that shaped in slightly onto his stumps, Sehwag (34, 23 balls, 5x4, 1x6) was in a punishing mood as he hit a flurry of boundaries in the first five overs.
It was young Jaidev Unadkat who got the dangerous Daredevils captain with a short ball that hurried onto him as he went for a pull and Balaji, who was standing at deep fine leg, didn't make any mistake.
Sehwag's dismissal literally put the brakes on scoring as all the KKR bowlers did a splendid job during the middle overs.
James Hopes (25, 30 balls) simply didn't get going which led to additional pressure on other batsmen who perished going
for big shots. Iqbal Abdulla was the pick of the KKR bowlers scalping three wickets for 25.
Earlier, an impressive half century from Manoj Tiwary was the only silver lining in an otherwise modest 148 for seven by Kolkata Knight Riders.
Tiwary scored 61 off only 47 balls (2x4, 3x6) as the other KKR batsmen failed to provide substantial support to the Bengal captain.
Apart from Shreevats Goswami, who scored 22, none of the other top-order batsmen crossed the 20-run mark.
For Tiwary, who has got some good scores in this tournament so far, this was one innings where he shouldered a lot of responsibility staying till the end.
If one took Tiwary's contribution out, KKR's scorecard would have cut a sorry picture after being put into bat by Delhi Daredevils captain Virender Sehwag.
Irfan Pathan (1-16), for the first time in the tournament, looked incisive while young Umesh Yadav (2-29) was a revelation with the ball.
Sent into bat, KKR batsmen found the going tough as Irfan was swinging in the ball and Kallis couldn't keep a flick down which David Warner spilled at mid-wicket.
His partner Goswami, who got his first game in the tournament, played some flashy shots and missed a few in between. A slash over third man, a cut over point and a thumping lofted hit that cannoned to the boundary were all hit off Morne Morkel (1-42), who turned out to be the most expensive among Delhi bowlers.
Kallis, who started off with a few singles, then tried to break the shackles hitting Morkel for a couple of boundaries. But Irfan finally was rewarded for bowling a good line as Kallis (11) shuffled a bit too much and the ball swung enough to clip the leg stump.
Skipper Gautam Gambhir started with a square cut off Yadav and was then lucky to survive as he mistimed a pull-shot which Irfan, running backwards, failed to latch on. But Goswami (22, 20 balls, 4x4) didn't last long as Ajit Agarkar dismissed him with the very first ball of his spell. It was a fullish delivery outside the off-stump which Goswami wanted to steer but only managed to edge it to Naman Ojha behind the stumps.
Tiwary started off with a boundary as he opened the face of the bat to guide it to third man where Irfan's bloomer saw the ball cross the ropes.
It was the 11th over of the innings bowled by Agarkar that cost Delhi 15 runs with 14 being scored by Tiwary. A full toss on the legs was gleefully dispatched over the square leg fence.
However James Hopes made amends in the very next over when Gambhir (18, 19 balls, 2x4) in his bid to step up the run-rate was caught at the deep mid-wicket by Y Venugopal Rao.
There was no stopping Tiwary though as he hit Morkel over deep mid-wicket for a huge six.
When Yadav came for his second spell, Tiwary clobbered the pacer over long-on for his third six. However, Yusuf Pathan's (5, 8 balls) flop-show continued as his tired looking hoick was easily lapped by brother Irfan stationed at long-on off Yadav.
KKR's debatable selection Eoin Morgan (0) was the next to go as his aerial shot was gobbled up by Ojha to put Yadav on a hat-trick. Tiwary finally completed his well deserved half century off 37 balls with a couple of Yadav.