Sharjah: Nitish Rana scored an unbeaten 36 as Kolkata Knight Riders beat Delhi Capitals by three wickets in an Indian Premier League match here on Tuesday.
Chasing a modest total of 127/9, Kolkata could not capitalise on a good start given by Shubman Gill and Venkatesh Iyer (28/1) and were left concerned following the dismissals of Eoin Morgan and Dinesh Karthik with the score reading 96/5.
Rana and Sunil Narine forged a partnership to tilt the balance in their favour and though the West Indies all-rounder fell after a 10-ball 21, Rana held on to see his side through in the 19th over.
Right-arm medium pacer Avesh Khan was the pick of the Delhi bowlers with figures of 3/13.
Earlier, the Knight Riders bowlers made optimum use of the slow Sharjah track to restrict Delhi Capitals to 127/9.
The bowlers justified skipper Eoin Morgan's decision to put Delhi in to bat on the slow surface, where the ball was stopping and coming onto the bat.
For Delhi Capitals, only Steve Smith (39 off 34 balls) and skipper Rishabh Pant (39 off 36 balls) could cross the 30-run mark. Not a single six was hit during the entire innings.
Delhi Capitals opener Shikhar Dhawan (24, 20 balls) hit five boundaries in quick time as he converted a lot of balls into half volleys before Venkatesh Iyer pouched him at point of Lockie Ferguson.
After the Powerplay, DC were 39/1 but it soon became 40/2, as Sunil Narine (2/18) castled Shreyas Iyer (1) in the seventh over.
Then Pant joined Smith and both found scoring difficult as there was no pace off the track and the balls were not really coming onto the bat. Varun Chakravarthy (0/24 in 4 overs) as usual was steady while Narine (2/18) also payed his part.
Smith tried changing gears and hammered successive fours in the 10th over off Chakravarthy, as Delhi got 12 off that over.
The Australian then slog swept Narine and was looking in his element when Ferguson pegged back Delhi by castling Smith as they slipped to 77/3.
Kolkata then grabbed three quick wickets, as Shimron Hetmyer (4), Lalit Yadav (0) and Axar Patel (0) too perished cheaply as Delhi slumped to 92/6.
With Pant failing to up the ante, Venkatesh (2/29) bowled really well in the back-10 mixing it up nicely at a speed of nearly 130 kmph which is certain to keep Hardik Pandya on tenterhooks if not in coming days then definitely in the coming months.
For the record, Pant became the leading run-scorer for Delhi Capitals surpassing Virender Sehwag.
(With agency inputs)