Bengali dish in the making
Qualifier 1: Delhi Daredevils vs. Kolkata Knight Riders, Subroto Sahara stadium, Pune
(Kolkata Knight Riders 162 for 4 (Yusuf 40*) beat Delhi Daredevils 144 for 8 (Jayawardene 40, Kallis 2-24, Narine 2-24) by 18 runs)
For the first since the first match of IPL where Brendon Mcullum’s amazing 158 for Kolkata Knight Riders, the team was able to shed the under achiever’s tag and on a personal note the Bengali part of me was jumping around and feeling elated after this win which took us into the final. Kallis’s all round ability coupled with Yusuf Pathan’s fierce batting helped us to reach for the first finale in 5 seasons.
The start of the match was crucial with both the captains hinting it to be a true surface to bat on. Kolkata went into the match with three specialist spinners expecting the ball to spin and Delhi on the other hand just went with one specialist spinner. On opting to bat first Gautam Gambhir and Brendon Mcullum started with their natural flair. Gambhir who had a memorable tournament with the bat was again leading from the front but an unfortunate run out of him helped Delhi to slow the run rate which was before Gambhir’s dismissal was around 9. Shewag introduced spin and Mcullum, Kallis and Shakib found it difficult to score. The tables had turned by the time Negi completed his spell and the momentum had shifted towards Delhi Daredevils. Kolkata needed something special and the big boy Pathan came to the party smashing Umesh, Morkel and Aaron helping KKR to finish with a mammoth total of 162.
Delhi needed some special but Warner and Shewag fell cheaply after showing some initial sparks of brilliance. Jayawardane had to bat throughout the innings but even he found it difficult against the Kolkata bowlers. Naman Ojha couldn’t continue after some intial huge shots. The pair failed to continue after their 50 runs partnership. Negi and Venugopal Rao tried their best but Narine’s sharp line and length could not let them off the hook. By the time Ross Taylor came in to bat, the writing was on the wall, he tried to play slam bang cricket but Kallis’s leg cutter were hard to play by. Requiring 26 of the last over Irfan Pathan tried his best but couldn’t erase the writing on the wall. In the end Kolkata beat Delhi by 18 runs to enter the finals.
An animated Shahrukh Khan was jumping, dancing and was back at his dancing best when his team reached finals for the first time in 5 season. His emotion knew no bounds and hugged every single player. He smiled from the ear to ear for the fabulous job done by his team.
Both the teams head down south one with joy and the other with anxiety to win. Delhi plays the winner of the second qualifier on 25th may at Chennai where as Kolkata get few days of vital rest before the final hurdle which is on 27th may at Chennai.
Don’t get shocked if Shahrukh khan enters with his band wagon and they spread over the whole Pavilion terrace at the Chepauk stadium. With the Chennai pitch too suiting the Kolkata team line, we will be hard to stop by!!!
- Soumendhu Sanyal