NEW DELHI:This match had all the essential ingredients for T20 cricket — an exhibition of blistering batting, some classy bowling and a nerve-wracking finish. But it was Manish Pandey who held his nerve as he completed a fine chase to take Kolkata Knight Riders to a thrilling win over Delhi Daredevils.
An 110-run stand between Yusuf Pathan and Manish had almost ensured a Kolkata win at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium here on Monday evening but Delhi would not give up without a fight. From 34 needed from the last five overs, Delhi kept things tight, so they had nine runs to defend in the final over.
Amit Mishra conceded one from the first three balls. But Manish, who along with Yusuf had helped Kolkata to recover from 21 for three, hit the fourth over the fence and ran 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.
It was the duo’s fourth wicket partnership that saved Kolkata after they lost three in three overs. Manish would hog the limelight finishing off the match, but Pathan with 59 from 39, was equally impressive and ensured the asking rate wasn’t beyond his side’s reach.
Earlier, opener Sanju Samson’s 39 and Rishabh Pant’s 38 saw Delhi register a total of 168 for seven. Delhi looked set to post an even more challenging total but disciplined fielding in the death overs by Kolkata prevented that from happening.
Samson displayed fine timing to pick gaps in the field and give the hosts a perfect start. It was for the first time that a Delhi opening pair had posted back-to-back 50-run partnerships since Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag in 2008.
Billings soon walked back to the pavilion after getting his glove on a Nathan Coulter-Nile delivery which he attempted to pull. Samson did the same in the next over, edging Umesh Yadav to the keeper.
With two new batsmen at the crease, Kolkata smelled blood but Shreyas Iyer and Karun Nair added 43 for the fourth wicket to take Delhi past the 100 mark in 13 overs. Nineteen-year-old Pant joined the middle after the fall of Iyer and it was the young batsman who provided the fillip for Delhi.
In the 17th, Pant hit three sixes and two fours as he struck 38 off 16 balls. However, three disciplined overs at the death bowled by Sunil Narine, Coulter-Nile and Chris Woakes helped Kolkata’s cause.