The formidable Delhi team on Sunday afternoon flexed their batting muscle at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai to hand a confident Kolkata a resounding 44-run defeat in the Match No 19 of the ongoing Indian T20 Cricket League 2022 tournament.
After they were sent in to bat by Kolkata captain Shreyas Iyer, Delhi produced a ruthless display of batting right from the word go to pummell the opposition bowlers into submission, with half-centuries from openers Prithvi Shaw and David Warner powering the Delhi side to a strong 215/5 in their 20 overs.
The right-handed dashing Indian opener Prithvi Shaw was the first to get off the block and his Australian batting partner — the most successful overseas batsman in the history of the tournament — was to follow the trend soon.
The pair of Prithvi Shaw and David Warner ripped apart the Kolkata bowling attack which has in the past shown great traits of stifling the opposition batsmen. Shaw was absolutely belligerent in all parts of the ground, hammering 7 fours and 2 sixes to end up with 51 from only 29 balls.
The partnership was broken in the 9th over when Varun Chakravarthy found a gap through the defense of Prithvi Shaw, providing Kolkata with some respite and break in the momentum for Delhi, who by that point, had raked up 93 runs in only 8.4 overs.
The Delhi side, however, did not take their feet off the gas pedal. Delhi captain Rishabh Pant resumed from where Prithvi Shaw left, and took his side forward with another rapid stand of 55 runs for the second wicket which came off only 27 balls.
After going at a breakneck speed in getting their runs, Delhi had a few quiet overs in the middle wherein they also lost wickets in heaps. After Pant fell for a 14-ball 27 to Andre Russell, David Warner followed the Delhi captain into the hut having scored 61 from 45 balls with 6 sixes and 2 fours.
At one stage Delhi were looking set to finish with somewhere around 200, but a lull period followed in the middle overs in which all-rounders Lalit Yadav (1) and Rovman Powell (8) could not trouble the scorers much. However, Axar Patel and Shardul Thakur chipped in with 22* and 29* towards the end to push Delhi’s total post the 200-run mark.
Axar Patel hammered 2 fours and 1 six to make 22* from 14 balls whereas Shardul Thakur made his first strong impression on the tournament, hammering 3 sixes and 1 four to make 29* from just 11 balls.
The Kolkata fast bowling pair of Umesh Yadav and Pat Cummins was punished for plenty of runs — they both ended up giving away 48 and 51 runs respectively to return with a combined spell of 8-0-99-1.
Varun Chakravarthy was also on the target of the Delhi batsmen who pummelled the mystery spinner for 44 runs in exchange of one wicket in his 4 oers.
Amid the ruins for Kolkata with the ball, the veteran Sunil Narine stood tall with a superb spell of spin bowling that read 4-0-21-2, accounting for Lalit Yadav and Rovman Powell.
Kolkata made a promising start via Venkatesh Iyer who hit 2 sixes upfront and a boundary to provide his side hope, but the left-handed aggressive batsman perished in his bid to keep looking for big runs.
After the opening pair of Venkatesh Iyer and Ajinkya Rahane added 21 runs for Kolkata, Shreyas Iyer and the former India Test vice-captain tried to rebuild but failed in their effort. Khaleel Ahmed struck once again, this time to dismiss Ajinkya Rahane for 8 and Kolkata were left struggling at 38/2 in 4.4 overs.
This was when Shreyas Iyer joined forces with Nitish Rana, who did well to bounce back from a string of poor scores. The two batsmen put on an attacking 69-run stand for the third wicket, which came from 42 balls.
While the Kolkata captain Shreyas Iyer scored a fine 54 from 33 balls with 5 fours and 2 sixes, the left-handed middle-order batsman Nitish Rana made 30 from 20 balls. Together, they provided their team with hope against all the odds, but with the asking run rate shooting up high, they had to take risks and perished in the process.
Kolkata’s resistance petered out with the fall of Nitish Rana in the 12th over followed by Shreyas Iyer’s exit in the 13th.
Kuldeep Yadav, who had snaffled the all-important wicket of Shreyas Iyer, got into the act and showed his former side Kolkata what they are missing this season.
The left-arm leg-spinner got into the act to increase his wickets tally, and accounted for the likes of Pat Cummins (4), Sunil Narine (4) and Umesh Yadav (0) to put an end to Kolkata’s resistance.
Andre Russell kept swinging his bat in a desperate bid to reduce the margin of defeat so that it did not affect their Net Run Rate. The burly West Indian fell at the end for a 21-ball 24 with 3 fours and Delhi eventually prevailed with a 44-run win as Kolkata were bowled out for 171 from 19.4 overs.
Delhi will next be seen in action against Bangalore on April 16, whereas a day before, Kolkata will face the struggling Hyderabad team.