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Sunday, Aug 25th

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The reigning champions, Kolkata Knight Riders, began their title defence in emphatic fashion, crushing a significantly depleted Delhi Daredevils side by 6 wickets in a virtual no contest.

Having been put into bat on losing the toss, Delhi posted an under par total of 128 with skipper Mahela Jayawardene mounting the only semblance of resistance for his side, scoring more than half his team's runs.

Jayawardene walked into bat on the second ball of the match after former Australian fast bowler removed India's much publicized Under-19 skipper Unmukt Chand with an unplayable outswinger on the first ball of the tournament. Jayawardene was the 8th man dismissed in the Delhi innings, falling for a 52-ball 66 in the penultimate over of Delhi's innings.

Australian opener David Warner was the only other man to get into double digits, contributing 21. Sunil Narine did the bulk of the damage for Kolkata, taking 4-13, including the big wicket of Warner which ended a 44-run stand for the second wicket between the Aussie and Jayawardene. Rajat Bhatia was his usual effective self, taking 2-23, while veteran seamer Laxmipathy Balaji was economical too, taking 1-20 from his 4 overs.

Delhi too landed an early breakthrough with the ball, getting rid of Kolkata's hero from last year's final Manvinder Bisla for 4, but some steady partnership thereafter meant that the hosts were always in the driver's seat.

Gautam Gambhir (42) and Jacques Kallis (23) added 47 for the second wicket before the latter became the first of Nadeem's two victims. Gambhir added another 41 with Manoj Tiwary (23) and that ensured that Kolkata were comfortable in their chase. Both men fell within the space of 8 balls, but Eoin Morgan (14*) and Yusuf Pathan (18*) took the side to victory with 8 balls to spare.

The Delhi Daredevils will look to bounce back when they take on the Rajasthan Royals on Saturday, while Kolkata are in action against the same opponent on Monday.

Teams:

DD: U Chand, D Warner, M Jayawardene (c), M Juneja, J Botha, N Ojha (wk), A Russell, I Pathan, A Nehra, S Nadeem, U Yadav

KKR: G Gambhir (c), M Bisla (wk), J Kallis, M Tiwary, Y Pathan, E Morgan, LR Shukla, R Bhatia, B Lee, SP Narine, L Balaji

Mini Scorecard:

Delhi Daredevils 128 all out (20 overs, 6.4rpo)

M Jayawardene 66 (52) S Narine 4-13

D Warner 21 (19) R Bhatia 2-23

Kolkata Knight Riders 129-4 (18.4 overs, 6.91rpo)

G Gambhir 42 (29) S Nadeem 2-22

J Kallis 23 (20) J Botha 1-23

KKR win by 6 wickets

 

The Kolkata Knight Riders ended their Champions League T20 sojourn on a high, thumping the Titans by 99 runs at Newlands, Cape Town. Being put into pat on a sluggish pitch, the Knight Riders posted an exceptional 188-5 in their 20 overs with Debabrata Das doing some serious damage towards the end of the innings, smacking an unbeaten 43 from just 19 deliveries after the top three batsmen had given KKR a terrific platform. The Titans meanwhile had a poor outing, following up their dismal bowling performance with an even worse batting display as they collapsed for 89 inside 17 overs with just three batsmen getting into double figures.

The result means that KKR will leave South Africa a little happier on their flight home later today, while the Titans still have some work to do before they are guaranteed a semi-final spot. KKR Skipper Gautam Gambhir's previous team, the Delhi Daredevils will be doubly thrilled with the result as it means they are all but through to the semi-finals. The Auckland Aces will need to thrash the Perth Scorchers and the Titans themselves will need to also quite literally rout Delhi for the Daredevils to be denied a knock-out berth.

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The Kolkata Knight Riders made their way to Durban knowing that anything other than a win today would mean that their next game of the Champions League T20 competition would certainly be their last. Squaring off against the Perth Scorchers, who were also win-less in the multi-nation event, the Knight Riders won the toss and opted to chase, basing their decision on the weather forecast for rain later in the evening. The Scorchers made a patchy start and made their way to a competitive 91-2 in 14 overs before the forecasted rain made its scheduled appearance. Sadly for the thousands in attendance and the millions glued to their TV sets around the world the rain refused to subside, washing away the possibility of any result from this contest. As such the teams were forced to split the 4 points on offer between them, ending KKR's chance of progressing in the competition.

The Knight Riders made the two predictable changes to their side, recalling Brett Lee for Shakib Al Hasan, and dropping Pradeep Sangwan for Iqbal Abdulla to retain their bowling balance. However, they also opted to leave out the much under-bowled Rajat Bhatia for a more recognized T20 stroke player in Debabrata Das to compensate for Shakib's exit. The Scorchers meanwhile made just the one change with Nathan Coulter-Nile coming in for Ben Edmondson, meaning there was still no place in the team for former England T20 winning captain Paul Collingwood in this side.

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Former Pakistan allrounder Azhar Mahmood continued to show that his utility in the shortest format of the game had aged like a fine wine, leading the Auckland Aces to yet another comfortable win, once again shining with both bat and ball. This time it was the IPL Champions the Kolkata Knight Riders who bore the brunt of Azhar's assault as the superstar picked up 3 crucial wickets at the top of the order to help restrict KKR to a paltry 137-6 in their 20 overs before stroking his way to his second half-century of the tourney to help the Aces knock off the runs with 14 balls and 7 wickets to spare. The defeat is a real disaster for KKR, who are now virtually on their way home, needing to win not just their last two group games, but also praying for a whole array of results to go their way.

The day started on a positive note for the Kolkata Knight Riders as they won the toss and opted to make first use of the pitch in Cape Town. Kolkata made a shock edit to their line-up, axing arguably their best bowler from the previous game Brett Lee in favour of Bangladeshi allrounder Shakib-Al-Hasan. Lakshmipathy Balaji, who had a poor game last time out, and Jacques Kallis, who appeared to be struggling with injuries, both kept their places in the side. Auckland meanwhile stuck to their winning combination.

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The Delhi Daredevils kicked off their Champions League T20 campaign in style, crushing the reigning IPL Champions the Kolkata Knight Riders by 52 runs in a disappointingly one-sided contest. The flip of the coin went Kolkata's way, and KKR opted to put their local rivals in to bat. Delhi made an impressive start, racing away to 46-1 in the powerplay before the Knight Riders pegged things back significantly. A 30 run over from Laxmipathy Balaji late in the innings though helped Delhi post an impressive 160-8. Kolkata meanwhile had a terrible start to their innings, losing their top 4 batsmen with just 4 runs on the board, and that put them on the backfoot for the rest of the game. The Delhi pace attack looks well equipped to go a long way in this tournament, and the Daredevils are going to be hard to beat.

The experienced superstar duo of Mahela Jayawardene and Virender Sehwag opened the batting as always for Delhi, and gave their side a neat start. The veteran duo picked up a boundary each from Laxmipathy Balaji's opening over before Jayawardene took a liking to Brett Lee's pace and hit him for a couple of boundaries too. Sehwag benefitted from being dropped by Manvinder Bisla in the fourth over, a touch chance which had the young keeper diving full length to his right. However, KKR did get the breakthrough with Sunil Narine striking with his very first delivery, bowling Mahela for 21. Bisla wasn't having the best day behind the stumps, dropping Kevin Pietersen later in the over, and Sehwag chose to rub salt into KKR's wounds by spanking the next ball over the covers for six.

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