KOLKATA, April 13: Left was right for Delhi Capitals as their two left-handers — Shikhar Dhawan and Rishabh Pant — combined to help the side script a crucial sevenwicket win over Kolkata Knight Riders at the Eden Gardens on Friday.
It must have been great relief for the national selectors to see Dhawan get back his touch and return among runs three days before they sit to pick up the India squad for the upcoming World Cup.
The opener, who was struggling for runs over the last few matches, silenced a packed Eden Gardens. He was unlucky not to get his maiden T20 hundred, remaining unbeaten on 97 off 63 balls with the help of 11 fours and two sixes.
The Dhawan-Pant show was quite in contrast to the way the KKR innings unfolded where Andre Russell once again played a hurricane innings of 45 runs off 21balls to help the hosts post 178/7 after DC skipper Shreyas Iyer won the toss and elected to bowl.
Pant too played a matured innings, deciding to be second fiddle to Dhawan who timed his shots to perfection, specially playing some delightful off-drives. Pant could not get the fifty which was there for the taking, falling for a well-made 46 that came off 31 balls.
Earlier, Russell once again boosted KKR total. When the West Indian walked into bat in the 13th over, KKR were 93/3. But by the time he departed in the 19th over, his team was much better placed at 161/6.
KKR went in with a brand new opening pair with debutant Joe Denley replacing the indisposed Chris Lynn and young Subhman Gill who got a promotion up the order. The Englishman, however, was dismissed first ball by Ishant Sharma, who pitched the new ball well outside the off-stump before getting to cut it back sharply and hit the middle stump.
Robin Uthappa and Gill steadied the innings with a 63-run second-wicket stand. Gill mixed caution with aggression while Uthappa played the big shots. Uthappa
made his intentions clear by dispatching Delhi’s star pacer Kagiso Rabada for three boundaries in his first over and then struck Kemo Paul, who replaced Sandeep Lamichhane, for a big six over long-on.
Rabada, however, came back to dismiss Uthappa with a bouncer which the batsman top edged while trying to hook and wicketkeeper Pant took a well-judged catch, leaping high to his right. Gill, meanwhile, reached his maiden half-century of the season off 34 balls. (TNN)