Knight Riders cruise in season opener

The Kokata Knight Riders beat the Dehli Darevils by six wickets in their Indian Premier League (IPL) fixture at Eden Gardens on Wednesday night.

<b>The Kokata Knight Riders beat the Dehli Darevils by six wickets in their Indian Premier League (IPL) fixture at Eden Gardens on Wednesday night.</b>

The Knight Riders, who won the toss and opted to field in the season opener, will feel their decision was justified after what was ultimately a comfortable run chase against a decent bowling attack.

In the first innings the Daredevils battled their way to a measly 128 all out. There were ominous signs for the visitors from the outset, as Unmukt Chand was bowled by veteran Brett Lee off the first delivery of the match. It was indeed a baptism of fire for Chand. However for Lee, it was an opportunity to roll back the years with his trademark celebration.

The new batsman Mahela Jayawardene made his intentions clear from the outset when he dispatched Lee to the boundary straight away. The ball was full, straight and deservedly clipped away to square leg for four.

Lee was again dispatched to the boundary in the last ball of the first over, this time by fellow Australian David Warner. At nine for one the prospects of building a significant tally were still reasonably good. Warner and Jayawardene brought stability to the Daredevils innings.

With the score on 41/1 after the first five overs, the ship had been steadied. However the subsequent demise of Warner in the next over sparked a mass capitulation from the Delhi Daredevils.

Sunil Narine was brought into the fray and perhaps it was only inevitable that Warner would be dismissed, as the Australians have recently shown they can't negotiate spin bowling.

Narine's delivery spat up off the pitch and the Australian batsman could only muster a tame edge to the slips. Jacques Kallis was not going to drop it.

In the eighth over, rather surprisingly, Rajat Bhatia replaced Narine. However, the run rate which now sat at 6.62 to the over had been stemmed and the Daredevils continued to struggle.

In the ninth over Manprit Juneja succumbed to the bowling of Lakshmipathy Balaji for poultry eight. Whatever resistance was being offered by Jayawardene was now starting to prove futile.

No other batsman in the Daredevils innings managed to pass double figures thanks in part to a devastating display from Narine who finished the innings with figures of 4/13 in his allotted four overs.

The Kolkata run chase was by no means straightforward, as the Knight Riders lost a wicket in the very first over of the match. Manvinder Bisla misjudged an Ashish Nehra delivery, which resulted in a soft dismissal.

Kallis then joined Gautum Gambhir in the middle and together they begun the rebuilding phase for the home team. Together they put on 47 runs for the second wicket before Kallis was dismissed for an impressive 23 off 20 balls. The South African talisman failed to punish a dreadful delivery from Shahbaz Nadeem; instead hitting it straight to midwicket.

However, at 51 for two, one couldn't help but feel the hard work had already been done. Manoj Tiwary joined Gambhir at the wicket and together they guided Kolkata to 93 before the latter was dismissed for 42 off 29 balls.

Tiwary departed soon after for 23, creating considerable anxiety within the Kolkata camp. However, the industrious Eoin Morgan and the big hitting Yusuf Pathan steadied the proverbial ship, guiding their team to what was ultimately a comfortable victory.

<b>Teams: Kolkata:</b> Gautam Gambhir(c), Manvinder Bisla(w), Jacques Kallis, Manoj Tiwary, Yusuf Pathan, Eoin Morgan, Laxmi Shukla, Rajat Bhatia, Brett Lee, Sunil Narine, Lakshmipathy Balaji

<b>Delhi:</b> David Warner, Unmukt Chand, Mahela Jayawardene(c), Manprit Juneja, Johan Botha, Naman Ojha(w), Andre Russell, Irfan Pathan, Ashish Nehra, Shahbaz Nadeem, Umesh Yadav