Delhi Daredevils v Kolkata Knight Riders, IPL, Johannesburg May 10, 2009

Delhi wallop Kolkata to go top

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Delhi Daredevils 125 for 3 (de Villiers 40*, Warner 36) beat Kolkata Knight Riders 123 for 8 (Ganguly 44, Agarkar 39, Mishra 3-14) by seven wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
How they were out

The reduced canvas of a Twenty20 game is supposed to shorten the gulf between sides but in Johannesburg there was no hiding the difference in quality between the two teams at opposite ends of the table. Another commanding performance from Delhi Daredevils helped them sweep past struggling Kolkata Knight Riders and regain their No.1 spot. After their bowlers, led by Ashish Nehra and Amit Mishra, had restricted Kolkata to a paltry total, the batsmen - led by AB de Villiers - kept the chase in hand and strolled to victory with seventeen balls to spare.

It initially seemed Brendon McCullum would script a surprise after he swatted the game's second ball for six and jumped out with intent on the next. However, he was wrongly adjudged lbw off Nehra's next delivery, with the ball going over and wide of offstump, and Delhi gained an advantage they never relinquished.

Worse was to follow for Kolkata three balls later, when the reliable Brad Hodge edged to first slip for a duck. Morne van Wyk, one of the few bright spots in Kolkata's campaign, continued the procession by slapping a Dirk Nannes short ball to square leg. By the end of the second over Kolkata had lost three of their foreign recruits for nine runs.

Sourav Ganguly and Yashpal Singh tried to get their side back on the rails. Ganguly carved one into the Kolkata dug-out in the fourth over, and Yashpal collected a couple of hard-hit boundaries in the next. The singles were also being picked off, and Ganguly was looking extremely good, particularly square on the off side.

Enter Mishra. He got rid of Yashpal and Wriddhiman Saha in his first over, and Kolkata slid to 46 for 5 after eight. There was some less than assured running between the wickets when Ganguly and Moises Henriques were together before Henriques became Mishra's third victim after an uncomfortable eight-ball stay that yielded two runs.

Top Curve
Prime Numbers
  • 271

    The number of runs scored by AB de Villiers, who tops the batting charts for Delhi Daredevils
  • 35

    The number of runs added for the eighth-wicket partnership between Ajit Agarkar & Murali Kartik, the best in the tournament
  • 67.75

    de Villiers' batting average - the best in the tournament so far
  • 134

    Kartik's bowling average in the tournament
Bottom Curve

Kolkata were then content to take the singles, cutting out most risks - Ganguly opening up only on a free hit, clobbering Mishra over long-on for a massive six. Ajit Agarkar also found some rhythm against Pradeep Sangwan, lofting him for a couple of boundaries. Just as Kolkata seemed to be recovering a bit, Delhi got rid of Ganguly.

Agarkar then threw his bat around to take his side into triple-digits, taking his chances with some uppish shots, to finish on a 29-ball 39.

It wasn't the most threatening of targets, on an easy-paced track, and Delhi's batsmen had their task made simpler still by being fed short balls early on. That helped Gautam Gambhir and David Warner get off to a brisk start and, by the time debutant Sourav Sarkar was taken for three fours in the fifth over, Delhi had piled on 45.

They were in a bit of trouble after Gambhir crashed one straight to point and Ishant Sharma removed both Warner and Tillakaratne Dilshan in the same over. Delhi were then 69 for 3 but Kolkata didn't switch to all-out attack mode. de Villiers and Karthik were allowed to get their eye in, knocking the singles around. The fielding also was not in same league as Delhi's; Agarkar had only given away three runs in the first five balls of the 14th over, but on the final delivery the long-off fielder made a hash of a simple stop to ruin the tight over. The anguish on the bowler's face was a familiar sight for Kolkata fans.

de Villiers hastened the victory by striking a boundary almost an over after that, and Delhi were again back to the summit of the IPL table, with a game in hand over their nearest rivals as well.

Siddarth Ravindran is a sub-editor at Cricinfo