Kolkata Knight Riders v Delhi Daredevils, IPL 2013, Kolkata April 3, 2013

Narine spins Kolkata to win in opener


Kolkata Knight Riders 129 for 4 (Gambhir 41, Kallis 23, Tiwary 23) beat Delhi Daredevils 128 (Jayawardene 66, Narine 4-13) by six wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

In 2008, Brendon McCullum had set the inaugural edition of the IPL alight with a whirlwind century that stands out for its audacity after more than 300 games in the tournament over five years. Not many will remember the exploits of his team in the opening game of IPL 2013 five years from now, but Kolkata Knight Riders' performance was a dominating one for the conditions they played in as defending champions. On a slow Eden Gardens track that didn't always cater to power-play, Sunil Narine and Rajat Bhatia restricted the Delhi Daredevils batsmen and captain Gautam Gambhir anchored the bulk of the chase.

Mahela Jayawardene, the Daredevils captain, got what he wanted at the toss when Gambhir elected to bowl, but Knight Riders snatched the initiative as early as the first ball. Unmukt Chand, a rising star in Indian cricket and fresh from back-to-back tons in India's domestic T20 tournament, was beaten by a lovely outswinger from Brett Lee that knocked out off stump. The sight was a delight to a capacity crowd and there were more such instances of batsmen proving clueless against a bowler in a format that's usually one-way traffic, the other way around.

Narine had played a pivotal role in Knight Riders' victorious season in 2012, and his variations were just as confounding for the batsmen. David Warner was baffled by a sharp offspinner that he edged to slip, West Indies team-mate Andre Russell was caught napping against a doosra, and Irfan Pathan holed out playing a flighted delivery to the hands of long-off.

Jayawardene, however, looked in control, adapting expertly to the approach the pitch demanded, restraining himself from playing expansive shots to rely on touch-play, all the while remaining fluent at one end. Lee was upper-cut over slips, Bhatia and L Balaji were steered through the off side before Lee returned for a final spell to be pulled for six, though, again, with more politeness than venom. Jayawardene helped stretch the score to 128 with a late surge, but Bhatia and Balaji, who bowled eight overs together, conceded 43 and picked up two wickets, had played an excellent containing role with their medium-pace and unsettling cutters before that.

A sense of urgency was more evident in Gambhir's start to the chase, as he stepped out to smack Irfan for a four and a six in the third over, the latter clearing long-on. He then targeted Umesh Yadav for two consecutive fours, while Jacques Kallis at the other end was finding the boundary with lesser effort, timing the ball gloriously, a punch down the ground off Ashish Nehra standing out. The pair added 47 in less than six overs, a mix-up that resulted in a run-out chance that was missed by David Warner being the only serious scare.

Gambhir ensured a steady run-flow after losing Kallis; the singles came easily with Manoj Tiwary, there were boundaries pierced by late-cuts through gaps on the off side, and enough lapses in the field by Daredevils to keep Knight Riders well ahead of the asking rate.

Gambhir and Tiwary fell in quick succession, but Knight Riders were in control of the chase when they needed 29 off 30 with six wickets in hand. Eoin Morgan and Yusuf Pathan saw to it that the task was completed without any fuss, some quick running and a straight six off Russell relieving any pressure in a low-key beginning to a long IPL season.

Siddhartha Talya is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Al on April 6, 2013, 23:32 GMT

    KKR will always have a chance with Sunil Narine bowling like this!! Just like RCB will always have a chance as long as Gayle keeps batting like this!! MI is totally dependent on Pollard and Malinga. 3 IPL teams dependent on 3 West Indians. Can you imagine if King Richards was at his peak and playing in IPL?? He was the King of batting. 10dulkar is nothing compared to King Richards.

  • A-Gunnie on April 4, 2013, 19:13 GMT

    Watch out....KKR could repeat as Naraine continues to be a match winner.

  • Dummy4 on April 4, 2013, 12:58 GMT

    Posted by Venkat Sraman.

    It was a brilliant display by KKR in their opening match against DD in IPL VI.It was a delightful to watch Bret Lee's first ball clean bowling Unmukt Chand which shattered the off stump.Gambhir's aggressive approach in marshalling his bowling resources and also in his batting enabled them to achieve their victory in a fine style.Sunil Naraine bowled intelliigentlly well to claim four wickets and man of the match award.


  • Rahul on April 4, 2013, 11:53 GMT

    I think DD have decent squad but one thing they must instill in themselves is self belief bcoz in every successful season of theres if u see dere are only 3 batsman performing consisitently and a couple of guys shining wid d bowl wid rest of attack rallying around dem. Also dey have been damm good fielding side. However, in the 4th season where dey didn't pick too many big names despite having good quality on disposal dey lost even before IPL started i.e. in there minds. If u will see players like warner fielded pretty poorly in dat season. However dis season I guess wid a guy like jaya at helm whu is used to havin such a squad in lanka must luk forward to instill confidence in d depleted side and team must win it for Ryder. I think a batting line up of warner, viru, jaya, ojha and chand is gud enuf wid guys like pathan, russel, mendis playing finisher. Bowling wise delhi is best if u go by how spinners bowled yesterday. All dey need is to play wid flair and like a true DAREDEVIL.

  • o on April 4, 2013, 10:50 GMT

    KKR should sign TINO BEST as replacement for PATTINSON he has been on fire lately and would be great to watch bowling back to back with LEE !

  • o on April 4, 2013, 10:21 GMT

    Russell should not be written off he's rarely been given a chance he can be very dangerous, yesterday Narine was spinning it square both ways u can't rly do much with that, I think DD should put bit more faith in him and he will come good out there.

  • Dummy4 on April 4, 2013, 10:09 GMT

    Why does russel ever get a game...bothas not a top order bat...any all-rounder will do in the ipl...rubbish like maxwell and morris collected the big bucks in the auction...seems like everybody wants to immitate csk...ross for nehra with that batting line-up...dd's are back to not knowing where they going and even morkel wont solve this problem...as for kkr aside from having to tolerate srk's infantile show gauti and narine continue to carry this team...the domestic batting still looks dismal...match was poor by any standard...need more international talent to improve the quality of cricket here

  • Dummy4 on April 4, 2013, 9:24 GMT

    for chasing a modest total like 129 nothing special thing is required from the batsman.So not a big significant role from Ghambhir rather than Sunil Narine

  • Dummy4 on April 4, 2013, 8:59 GMT

    If you are a cricket fan you would watch any cricket. I am not english but some of my countrymen are playing there so I check them out just as in the IPL I watch my players. I'm not a fan of 20/20 cricket I still watch as you still need to play good cricket shots. that straight drive of kallis was as good as it gets. The wicket did not play as a T20 pitch should play but you need to adapt. Cant wait to see AB play but that need to wait till he's available as the Titans are in thee final of our domestic competition.

    The IPL are big because of the international players that are playing in it. Its followed by most because of the players of most countries. Pity is that India is not allowing pakistani players to play and the english board don't want their players there. Would have been nice to see every country represented. I hate it when Politics interfere with sport.

  • Amit on April 4, 2013, 8:00 GMT

    @BDForever....I luv you comments...u love so much for u r country..really appreciate. I know that BD is world champion team & all players are SIR category players in u r BD team...thats wy they need not participate in foolish IPL league.they are already far more ahead of IND,SL,PAK & AUS team now BD should only play with teams from moon or mars...LOL