Kolkata: Two time IPL champions Kolkata Knight Riders made a perfect start to IPL season 9 as they cruised to a comprehensive 9 wickets win over Delhi Daredevils. Chasing a target of 99 runs to win, the Knight Riders reached home with 5.5 overs to spare. Captain Gautam Gambhir scored 38* off 41 balls and Robin Uthappa (35 off 33 balls)were in total control of the chase as dissected the field at ease continuing from where they had left off in the last edition. Gambhir smashed his former teammate Zaheer Khan for two elegant boundaries in his first over before Uthappa dished out some exquisite stroke-making to take them near home in 69-run opening stand in 58 balls. After Uthappa’s departure, Gambhir finished the chase with Manish Pandey (15 not out) in 14.1 overs.
Put in, Delhi Daredevils raced to 24 in just 13 balls with Kolkata Knight Riders having some initial hiccups with overthrows and field adjustments.
Quinton de Kock looked imperious when he unsettled Umesh Yadav’s line with successive four and a six and at that point nothing was going in the Knights’ way.
Russell gave twin breakthroughs by getting rid of de Kock (17 from 10 balls) and Shreyas Iyer (0) before Hasting tightened up the other end with a misery 2-1-1-1.
Pawan Negi (11) and Sanju Samson (15) tried to repair the damage with a 20-run partnership but Hogg brilliantly set up the former with two dot balls before deceiving the lefthander with his flight to be stumped.
It was surprising to see West Indies WorldT20 hero Carlos Brathwaite sent in at Number 7. The cricketer from Barbados lived up to the hype with a second-ball six but only to be trapped plumb by a Chawla googly after two balls.
Delhi eventually got bowled out for 98 runs in 17.4 overs much to the disappointment of 27000 sparse crowd who came in to watch some fireworks from Brathwaite.
Andre Russell was declared the Man of the Match for his effort with the ball. Kolkata Knight Riders next match is against the defending champions Mumbai Indians on April 13 at Eden Gardens.