Easy win over Knight Riders make Delhi table-toppers

Delhi Daredevils followed up their disciplined bowling with a clinical chase to thump IPL’s favourite punching bag Kolkata Knight Riders by seven wickets and reach the top of the points table here on Sunday.

Chasing a modest 124, the Daredevils cruised to 125 for three in 17.1 overs with David Warner (36) and AB de Villiers (40 not out) shining with the bat to fashion a win that helped the Delhi outfit (14) replace Chennai Super Kings (13) at the top of the point chart.

Asked to take first strike on the Wanderers pitch, Sourav Ganguly (44) and Ajit Agarkar (39) waged grim battle as the Knight Riders fumbled and faltered their way to an unflattering 123 for eight in their allotted 20 overs.

In contrast, the Daredevils’ chase got off to a flying start with David Warner (36) playing in his usual belligerent way and raising 53 runs with Gautam Gambhir (18) in no time.

The portly Australian looked in ominous form as he hit back-to-back fours off Moises Henriques, smote Agarkat out of the park and treated everyone else with characteristic disdain.

In comparison, Gambhir looked little subdued before he fell to Henriques and 13 runs later, Warner’s blitzkrieg ended when he edged Ishant Sharma. The lanky pacer struck for the second time in his same over to get rid of Tillakaratne Dilshan (1).

But despite these three jolts, win looked invincible as AB de Villiers and Dinesh Karthik combined to steer Delhi through and remained unbeaten on 40 and 17 runs respectively.

Earlier, Sourav Ganguly topscored with a 45-ball 44 and Ajit Agarkar played a crucial 39-run cameo off 29 balls as Kolkata Knight Riders posted an unflattering 123 for eight against Delhi Daredevils in their Indian Premier League match here on Sunday.

The tournament laggards from Kolkata put up yet another pathetic batting display with only four batsmen getting into double-digit scores.

Asked to take first strike on the pitch at Wanderers, former Knight Riders captain Ganguly and the man who replaced him, Brendon McCullum (6), walked out to open but Ashish Nehra’s double strikes in the first over pushed them on the back foot early in the innings.

McCullum hit Nehra’s second delivery for a six before the third rapped him just outside off-stump.

Daredevils stumper Dinesh Karthik didn’t deem it fit to appeal but Nehra’s die-hard optimism was eventually rewarded when umpire Suresh Shastri raised the dreaded finger.

There was, however, no such ambiguity when Nehra, three balls later, induced an edge from Brad Hodge (0) and AB de Villiers made no mistake in the lone slip.

Dirk Nannes too struck in his first over when Morne van Wyk’s (0) pull found Rajat Bhatia at short square leg and the Kolkata outfit realised to their horror that the first nine runs have cost them three top order wickets.

Ganguly initially tip-toed his way before stepping out to hit Nehra over the ropes and square cut Tillakaratne Dilshan for a four, trying to arrest the slide in company of Yashpal Singh (13) before Amit Mishra did a Nehra and claimed two wickets in his first over to nix the rebuilding act.

Ganguly could only watch from the other hand as Yashpal perished in the deep and then Wriddhiman Saha became the third Knight Riders batsman with a duck against his name.

To compound crisis, Moises Henriques (2) became Mishra’s third victim.

Ganguly hit a six off a free-hit delivery from Mishra but fell in the 17th over, miscuing a Nannes delivery.

Agarkar threw his bat at everything hurled at him as the Knight Riders crossed the 100-mark.

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