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Delhi survive Morgan-Tripathi scare to go to the top of the table

Delhi Capitals edged Kolkata Knight Riders by 18 runs in yet another run-glut at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium to go to the top of the Indian Premier League table on Saturday.

On a flat batting surface in a small outfield, skipper Shreyas Iyer led the way for Delhi smashing a belligerent 38-ball 88 not out as they posted a tournament-high 228-4. The total eclipsed Rajasthan Royals 226-6 when they chased down Kings XI Punjab’s 223.

Kolkata did keep pace with the required run rate but under pressure of a high-scoring chase, the two-time champions fell just short making 210-8 in 20 overs. The result saw Delhi leapfrog Royal Challengers Bangalore to the top. The Virat Kohli-led Bangalore had made short work of Rajasthan in the first match on Saturday in Abu Dhabi.

After four matches, Delhi and Bangalore have six points each with the former staying ahead on net run rate. Rest of the four teams are tied on four points each.

Kolkata lost Sunil Narine (three) in the second over to Anrich Nortje before Shubman Gill (28) and Nitish Rana added 64 runs. Rana, dropped on 25 by Amit Mishra off his own bowling, did most of the scoring to keep Kolkata in chase before a flurry of wickets put Delhi on top.

Harshal Patel removed Rana and Dinesh Karthik (six) in consecutive deliveries before Nortje dismissed Pat Cummins reducing Kolkata to 122-6. Rana hit four sixes and as many boundaries in his 35-ball 58.

With big hitting Andre Russell already gone for 13, Kolkata had England captain Eoin Morgan as their last hope. But it was Rahul Tripathi who brought Kolkata back in the hunt smashing Marcus Stoinis for 23 runs alone in the 17th over.

Morgan began the next over by smacking Kagiso Rabada for three consecutive sixes and Tiwari ended the over with a boundary as Kolkata needed 31 from the last two overs.

Nortje produced day’s brilliant over in the crunch situation conceding two singles in the first two balls before removing Morgan. It ended a whirlwind 30-ball partnership of 78 runs and virtually the game as well. Nortje conceded just five runs in the penultimate over leaving Kolkata to get 26 to win from six balls.

Tripathi began the final over by hitting Stoinish for a boundary but the Australian clean bowled the batsman to end any remaining Kolkata hopes. Morgan hit five sixes and a four in his 18-ball 44 and Tripathi scored 36 off 16 with three sixes and as many maximums.

Nortje took 3-33 from four overs for Delhi. Kolkata managed just seven runs from the last over.

Prithvi Shaw also looked in fine touch in laying foundation for a big Delhi Capitals total. PHOTO: BCCI/IPL

Earlier, Delhi knew the ground was ready for another high-scoring game and began positively after Prithvi Shaw and Shikhar Dhawan (26) made a 56-run opening wicket partnership inside the powerplays.

Shaw then added another 73 runs for the second wicket. Shaw made 66 from 41 balls with four sixes and four boundaries. Iyer and Rishab Pant (38) then produced more fireworks collecting 72 runs for the third wicket.

Delhi could have neared 250 but Iyer didn’t get any strike in the last over where Russell conceding just seven runs and picking up a wicket. Iyer’s terrific innings included seven fours and six sixes. Russell took 2-29 from four overs for Kolkata.

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