IPL: Varun, Salt star in Kolkata Knight Riders’ big win over Delhi Capitals

NEW DELHI: An all-round bowling performance led by Varun Chakaravarthy (3/16) was followed by a dazzling 33-ball 68 from opener Philip Salt as Kolkata Knight Riders thrashed Delhi Capitals at the Eden Gardens in Indian Premier League on Monday.
With the sixth win of the season in 9 matches, KKR maintained their second spot on the points table. The win was also KKR’s 8th in 10 matches at home against the Capitals.
Chakravarthy, a mystery spinner, led Kolkata’s disciplined bowling to restrict Delhi to 153 for 9 as players, who remained drenched in sweat, and fans braved the intense heat in the colonial-era capital.
Players from all the 10 IPL teams are keen to impress their national selectors with just one day left for countries to name their teams for the T20 World Cup in June.
The in-form Salt, an England wicketkeeper-batsman, led the chase with an opening stand of 79 with Sunil Narine and the two-time champions reached their target with 3.3 overs to spare.
“It is high-risk but it is also about putting the odds in your favour and not taking the risks you don’t want to,” Salt said of his attacking game.
As It Happened
“You just have to keep backing yourself and keep taking the right options.”
The mercury in the afternoon soared above 41 degrees Celsius (106 degrees Fahrenheit) for the third time this month, forcing the normally bustling streets to stay empty at noon.
But the sports-mad city witnessed a near-packed house at the 66,000 capacity stadium for the evening game and their home team did not disappoint with their sixth win in nine matches to move closer to booking a play-off spot.
Most of India’s eastern states and southern peninsula have remained under government heatwave alerts since last week, with relief not expected for several more days.
Delhi elected to bat first but lost regular wickets including Prithvi Shaw for 13 and fellow opener Jake Fraser-McGurk, out for 12 off let-arm quick Mitchell Starc.
Skipper Rishabh Pant attempted to resist the slide in his unconvincing knock of 27 before he was dismissed by man of the Chakravarthy.
Chakravarthy rattled the middle and lower-order to make Delhi slip to 111-8 before number nine Kuldeep Yadav claimed an unbeaten 35.
“I think that (batting first) was a good option but as a batting unit, we did not bat well enough. 150 was definitely below par,” said Pant.
“That is part and parcel of cricket. We have a long break ahead, where we can learn from our mistakes.”
Salt, who moved into the top five batsmen this IPL season with 392 runs, put the chase on track along with fellow opener Narine as the two clobbered 23 runs off the first over from Lizaad Williams.
He reached his fourth half-century of the season in 26 balls with a six off Khaleel Ahmed but fell to spinner Axar Patel after his 33-ball knock laced with seven fours and five sixes.
Skipper Shreyas Iyer, who made 33, and Venkatesh Iyer, who hit the winning six in his 23, steered the team home in an unbeaten stand of 57.
The match was a complete contrast to the previous game at the venue when Punjab Kings chased down an IPL record of 262 on another hot day.
(With inputs from AFP)

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