In-form David Warner played yet another blistering knock of 66 as Delhi Daredevils comfortably defeated defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders by seven wickets in a Pepsi Indian Premier League match, in Raipur, on Wednesday.
Chasing a modest target of 137, Warner and young Unmukt Chand (37) added 95 runs for the third wicket as the hosts won the game with 13 balls to spare. This was also a sweet revenge for Daredevils, who had lost in the tournament opener against the same side.
The win was Daredevils' third in the competition and with six points, they managed to stay afloat in the competition.
KKR slumped to their seventh defeat in 10 matches due to another shoddy batting and fielding performance. Although Delhi remain on eighth position but back-to-back wins will definitely give them a lot of confidence for their upcoming matches.
Warner's unbeaten 42-ball had five fours and three sixes and he always looked in control despite the loss of the two senior openers early.
Virender Sehwag (17) got a lifeline when Gambhir dropped an easy catch at short cover with the batsman on 11. But the veteran opener failed to cash in as he guided a delivery from Jacques Kallis to Yusuf Pathan at first slip who caught it on the second attempt.
Mahela Jayawardene (5) was also dismissed in an identical fashion as he was caught by Kallis at first slip off Lakshmipathy Balaji.
Warner started with a cover drive off Balaji and then hooked a bouncer from Kallis for a six. Rajat Bhatia was unlucky as Warner got two reprieves off his bowling. First it was Manvinder Bisla, who missed a regulation stumping and then Kallis missed a skier which went for six.
Unmukt finally did some justice to his talent as he played some deft shots including a glance and an upper-cut off Kallis.
The 50-run partnership came off 47 balls while the 100 came in 15 overs. Warner completed his half-century off 35 balls with two successive pull shots off Balaji -- one in front of the wicket and the other over square leg as they inched closer towards victory.
Credit goes to Warner and Chand for playing out Sunil Narine's four overs (0/14) without taking any risks while deciding to attack other bowlers.
KKR skipper Gambhir's decision to play bowling all-rounder Sumit Narwal was inexplicable as he wasn't given a single over to bowl.
Earlier, Daredevils produced a commendable bowling performance and were complemented by brilliant fielding which enabled them to restrict KKR to 136 for seven.
Incidentally, KKR's total got some sort of respectability due to Delhi's domestic veterans Rajat Bhatia (26 not out) and Sumit Narwal (23).
The duo added 30 runs in only three overs as KKR managed to cross 130-run mark despite being five down for 50 even before the halfway mark. Brett Lee (16) also used the long handle to good effect as Ashish Nehra (1/37) gave away 16 runs in the final over of the innings.
Irfan Pathan (1/16), Shahbaz Nadeem (1/23), Morne Morkel (1/22) bowled well while Umesh Yadav (2/36) was a tad expensive although he got a couple of wickets.
Daredevils got an important breakthrough off the second delivery of the match when rival skipper Gambhir (0) was run out. Irfan did well on his follow through as Gambhir trying to rush for a quick single from the non-striker end was short of his ground.
With pitch offering some lateral movement, Umesh bowled a fantastic first over where swung the ball away from the batsman at a brisk pace. One such delivery saw Bisla (4)
trying to make room for a shot over extra cover only to see his off-stump knocked back.
Pathan (20) played and missed a number of deliveries before hitting Morkel over long-on for a six but was out of the very next delivery when the South African speedster pitched it further up. He again tried to hoick it but only managed to top edge as his brother Irfan took a well-judged catch running back on the leg side.
From 37 for three, it soon became 50 for five as Eoin Morgan (10) and Kallis (12) were also back in the dug-out.
While Umesh covered some ground to take a good catch at deep square leg off Shahbaz Nadeem's bowling, Ben Rohrer's effort should be ranked among the top five catches in the league.
Irfan bowled one wide outside the off-stump as Kallis tried to slice it over point. The Aussie timed his jump to perfection as he plucked off one of the most amazing catches with his left hand.
With the bowling unit sticking to their plan, it became increasingly difficult for the likes of Rajat Bhatia and Debabrata Das (18) to up the ante. The beefy Das was sorted out by Ashish Nehra with a short delivery that climbed up on him as he tried to play a pull shot but managed an edge which was taken by Kedar Jadhav.