Raipur: Delhi Daredevils' adopted home of the Shaheed Veer Narayan Singh Stadium again provided the team from the capitol a joyous occasion as they beat an insipid Kolkata Knight Riders by seven wickets to live another day in IPL 6. Delhi exhibited a masterclass in fielding and catching to completely floor the defending champions, who jarringly dropped four catches - three off David Warner who guided a chase of 137 with an unbeaten 66.
Coming into this match needing to forge a winning streak in order to stay alive, Kolkata did their chances no good by losing five wickets inside nine overs. Gautam Gambhir run out by Irfan Pathan without facing when attempting a suicidal single and Manvinder Bisla's stumps were shattered by Umesh Yadav when he swung and missed. A special catch from Irfan in the deep accounted for his brother Yusuf (20) after he miscued Morne Morkel high up in the air, leaving KKR on 37 for 3 after the Powerplay.
Eoin Morgan fell trying to break the shackles off a stagnating run rate, swinging left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem out to a running Yadav, and then Ben Rohrer plucked a brilliant one-handed catch at point to get rid of Jacques Kallis. That was a big wicket for Irfan, who finished with 1 for 16 from his quota.
From here the KKR batsmen heaved and puffed their way to 91 for 6 in 16 overs, and some lusty hitting brought 41 off the last four to get a respectable total on the board. Rajat Bhatia scored a composed 26,
Sumit Narwal swung his way to 24 and 16 off the last over with Brett Lee swinging Ashish Nehra for a couple sixes. Delhi were outstanding in the field, with Irfan, Rohrer, Yadav and Unmukt Chand holding smart catches.
Kolkata were perked up by the wickets of Delhi's openers in defense of a small total. A sitter gone down from Gautam Gambhir's hands at short extra cover did not cost KKR much, for Virender Sehwag steered Kallis to slip for 17. Moments later, it was Kallis at slip who pouched a thick outside edge off Mahela Jaywardane's bat to put Delhi in a spot of bother.
Warner, clearly thriving in his new role at No. 4, and Unmukt Chand (37) ensured the chase was restored with a sensible partnership of 95. Warner took command of leading the stand with a well-placed boundary off L Balaji and then swung Kallis for six. Bisla fluffed a stumping chance off Bhatia's medium pace when Warner was 18, and on 28 Warner got a second life when Kallis misjudged a steep catch at long-on which ended up going for six. Warner never looked back, easing to another fifty off 35 balls.
Chand was also the recipient of a dropped catch, the culprit being Narwal at third man, and two balls later Bhatia got fingertips to a Warner pull shot at midwicket but could not latch on. By the time KKR held onto something, victory was three shots away and Warner ensured there were no more hiccups.