Team Kolkata continued their impressive comeback in this UAE leg of the 2021 edition of the Indian T20 League. They beat Team Delhi to retain their place in the top four and have broken free from the eight-point mid-table muddle.
After opting to bowl first, Team Kolkata produced a clinical performance with the ball. Lockie Ferguson was impressive while Sunil Narine and Varun Chakravarthy strangled the Team Delhi batters in the middle overs. Meanwhile, Venkatesh Iyer chipped in with a couple of wickets as well. Only three Team Delhi batsmen got into double figures and they could post just 127/9 in 20 overs.
In reply, Shubman Gill started off solidly and got 30. However, Team Delhi remained in the hunt as they picked wickets at regular intervals. But Nitish Rana remained calm at one end and scored an unbeaten 36 while Narine’s 21-run blitz ensured Team Kolkata got over the line with 10 balls to spare.
Here are some of the talking points from the game.
Venkatesh Iyer delivers… This time with the ball
Venkatesh Iyer has been very impressive in this UAE leg of this IPL. He didn’t play a single game before this and he has brought a breath of fresh air at the top of the order for Team Kolkata. The left-hander played a couple of excellent knocks which played a vital role in Team Kolkata’s wins.
In this game against Delhi, Venkatesh Iyer starred with the ball. He bowled just one over against Team Chennai and conceded five runs but in this game, he got some crucial breakthroughs. Bowling medium pace and largely taking pace off the ball, Iyer picked up two wickets and gave away 29 runs in his four overs. He dismissed the dangerous Shimron Hetmyer and also scalped Axar Patel.
No six in the entire Team Delhi innings
Team Delhi just couldn’t get going with the bat. Prithvi Shaw’s absence at the top didn’t help as they huffed their way to 127 runs. Steve Smith replaced him at the top and he was striking at a run-a-ball. Shikhar Dhawan struck five boundaries but wasn’t freely rotating strike either. Smith and Dhawan added 35 runs in the first five overs but Dhawan’s wicket changed the complexion of the innings.
Lockie Ferguson was the man who dismissed the Orange Cap holder before he came back to dismiss Smith in the 13th over of the innings. Sunil Narine applied the brakes in the middle overs as the Team Delhi middle-order struggled to gain any sort of momentum. Rishabh Pant hung around for a while and top-scored with 39 but he didn’t have much support. Shimron Hetmyer was out for four while Lalit Yadav and Axar Patel were dismissed for a duck.
Delhi ended up scoring a mere 92 runs in the last 15 overs (after the loss of Dhawan). Moreover, six out of the 14 fours that Delhi scored came in those first five overs. Plus, there were no sixes hit in the entire innings and this is only the second time in the history of the IPL that Team Delhi ended their batting innings without hitting a six.
All-round Sunil Narine leads the way for Team Kolkata
Sunil Narine was the star for Team Kolkata in this game against Team Delhi. He was superb with the ball before he walked in and smashed a quickfire cameo to close out the game for Team Kolkata and help them get over the line.
Right from his first over, Narine was on the money. He came into the attack right after the powerplay and he struck on his second ball. The West Indian mystery spinner knocked over an in-form Shreyas Iyer to peg Team Delhi back soon after the powerplay. His first two overs cost just eight runs before he gave away nine runs in his third over.
Narine came back into the attack in the 15th over and got the wicket of Lalit Yadav who was dismissed for a duck. The Delhi off-spinning all-rounder had no clue as he just couldn’t read Narine and lasted just two balls against the mystery spinner who finished with figures of 4-0-18-2.
With the bat, Narine came in and wrapped up the chase for Team Kolkata. He walked out when the score read 96/5 and Team Kolkata still needed 32 off 32 deliveries. With a strong Team Delhi pace attack, the game was still on. However, in the 16th over, Narine killed the game as he smashed Rabada for two sixes and a four as the South African fast bowler conceded 21 runs. Narine may have been dismissed for 21 off 10 balls but he got the job done.