Daredevils too pacy for Knight Riders
Delhi Daredevils 160 for 8 (Chand 40, Taylor 36, Narine 3-21) beat Kolkata Knight Riders 108 for 7 (Yadav 2-13, Irfan 2-19, Morkel 2-25) by 52 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
What prompted Gautam Gambhir and Kolkata Knight Riders to bat second, under the lights, in South Africa, is unclear. And the plan clearly did not come off; it went horribly wrong on a track that had unreliable bounce, which the Delhi Daredevils' four-man pace attack used wisely after 60 overs were played out on the pitch. The Knight Riders were not only outplayed by 52 runs, five of their batsmen got struck, including the team's batting mainstay Jacques Kallis. Their top-order had an outing they'd do well to forget.
Out of 168 day-night limited-overs internationals in the country, only 27 teams have won the game after deciding to bat second. At the SuperSport Park, only one team has won in ODI cricket while none have done so in Twenty20 internationals. And against an attack that includes the towering Morne Morkel, the Knight Riders were swimming against the tide willfully. The uneven bounce confused them further and by the time the first ten balls of their innings were done, Daredevils had done enough damage.
It started with the captain Gautam Gambhir, when Irfan Pathan removed him for a duck off the third ball, having the left-hander chip one to mid-on. Off his sixth ball, he brought one back into the other opener, Manvinder Bisla, who was trapped leg-before. Irfan had one of those better evenings, when he looked like bringing the ball back whenever he pleased. It got worse for the Knight Riders when Brendon McCullum cut one to Chand at point off Morne Morkel's first ball, the seventh of the innings, for a duck.
Jacques Kallis was the next man to walk off when Morkel rapped him on the fingers of his right hand while trying to fend off an awkward delivery. He had to retire hurt and did not come back to bat, but X-rays revealed that there was no fracture. The very next ball struck the next batsman, Yusuf, on his arm, as he attempted to leave a rising delivery. At the end of the fifth over, he was put out of misery when Daredevil's first-change bowler Umesh Yadav had him deflect one back at the stumps. By this time the ball started keeping low too. Manoj Tiwary and Rajat Bhatia added 47 for the fifth wicket but it was only a face-saving exercise.
Irfan, Morkel and Yadav took two wickets each and Ajit Agarkar got one; except for the left-arm swing bowler, the other three struck the batsmen and kept them pinned on the backfoot.
Daredevils too were in trouble when they batted, but the recovery was prompt. The 63-run fourth-wicket stand between Unmukt Chand and Ross Taylor put them in a strong position, especially after a 30-run 17th over from L Balaji.
Chand played some attractive shots to start off his innings and survived a chance on 14 at midwicket, where Tiwary dropped a skier. He cracked two sixes and two more boundaries to finish on a 27-ball 40. It ended when he completely missed an off-break from Sunil Narine. The versatile spinner took three wickets while Brett Lee and Kallis bowled well too. But it would be the costly overs from Balaji that they could pinpoint for conceding more than the average score at the venue.
Following Daredevils' resounding win, Pietersen will be off to London to meet with England team director Andy Flower on Sunday. He is likely to be back in time for Daredevils' second game, on Friday in Durban, against Auckland Aces.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's correspondent in Bangladesh