NEW DELHI: This match had all the essential ingredients for T20 cricket, some blistering batting, an exhibition of classy bowling and a never wracking end to the match. But it was Manish Pandey who held his nerves to the end as he finished off an impressive chase to take Kolkata Knight Riders to victory over Delhi Daredevils.
An 110-run stand between Yusuf Pathan and Manish had almost ensured a KKR win at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium here on Monday, but Delhi were not to give up without a fight. From 34 needed from the last five overs, the DD kept things tight such that they had nine runs to defend in the final over.
Amit Mishra stepped up to bowl and only conceded one from the first three balls. But Manish, who along with Pathan had helped KKR to recover from 21 for 3, hit the fourth over the fence and then calmly run a couple in the fifth to take his side to the top of the table, knocking Mumbai Indians off the perch, with a four-wicket victory.
Earlier, a classful 39 from 25 balls by opener Sanju V Samson and a blistering 38 from 16 from Rishabh Pant saw Delhi register a total of 168 for 7 against KKR. Delhi looked set to post an even more challenging total but disciplined fielding in the death overs to negate the threat of the hard-hitting Chris Morris helped KKR to restrict them to the total.
Delhi openers Sanju and Sam Billings began in explosive fashion once again, but this time it was Sanju who was the more adventures of the duo as the Englishman kept to rotating the strike for the young Indian.
Sanju displayed exquisite timing to pick gaps in the field and give the hosts a perfect start to the innings. In fact, it was for the first time that a Delhi opening pair had brought up back-to-back 50 run partnerships since Gambhir and Virender Sehwag did it in 2008.
However, Billings soon walked back to the pavilion after getting his glove on a Nathan Coulter-Nile delivery which he attempted to pull. So, did Sanju after in the next over edging Umesh Yadav to the keeper and ending an innings that had shown tremendous promise.
Two new batsmen at the crease, Kolkata would have scented blood, but Shreyas Iyer and Karun Nair added 43 in the fourth wicket to take Delhi past the 100 mark in 13 overs. 19-year-old Rishabh joined the middle after the fall of Iyer and it was the young batsman who provided the fillip for Delhi in the later stages.
In the 17th over of the innings, Rishabh took Umesh to the cleaners as he hit three sixes and two boundaries as he played a vital knock fo 38 from 16 balls. However, Kolkata reigned back the hosts with three disciplined over at the death bowled by Sunil Narine, Coulter-Nile and Chris Woakes.