In his IPL debut, fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar’s devastating spell helped the Kolkata Knight Riders crush the Delhi Daredevils by 23 runs with 13 balls remaining in the 35th Twenty20 match of the Indian Premier League here at the Eden Gardens on Tuesday.
Shoaib Akhtar grabbed all the first four wickets for a mere 11 runs in a spell of three overs. He wasn’t even required for his fourth over.
On the second ball of the match, Shoaib sent back Sehwag and there was no looking back after that. The fielding was sharp and accurate and the number of direct hits, to go with the two run-outs, kept the pressure on Delhi.
Chasing 134, Delhi boys were reeling at 104 for seven when Sourav Ganguly brought in Shukla to bowl for the first time in the 18th over of the innings and Shukla bagged three wickets for six runs from five balls and the Delhi Daredevils were all out for 110 in 17.5 overs.
Kolkata have edged out Delhi in the points table and are now placed fourth.
Losers’ captain Sehwag said after the match: "Our bowlers did well but our batting let us down. Shoaib bowled really well and we didn’t plan properly for facing him. Dilshan’s dismissal was crucial and we didn’t recover after that."
The winners’ captain Ganguly said: "Shoaib showed a lot of character. It’s one of the best wins in my career.”
Man-of-the-match Shoaib Akhtar said: "I’m just there to enjoy my game. I’ve got no point to prove to anyone. I’ve had a stressful few months and I’d like to thank everybody in the dressing room. Shah Rukh has been like a brother giving me a lot of advice. All the guys played really well."
Earlier, the Kolkata Knight Riders won the toss and decided to bat first but were restricted at 133-6 in the allotted 20 overs by the Delhi Daredevils.
Only opener Salman Butt and middle-order batsman David Hussey made significant contributions but no individual fifty could be scored in the innings as Salman Butt made 48 and Hussey 31.
Farveez Maharoof and Yomahesh got two wickets each while Pradeep Sangwan took one wicket.