New Delhi: Two days ago, Gautam Gambhir was a stranger at what is his home ground in the Indian Premier League, as Sourav Ganguly played the 'home' hero. On Monday, he was in his hometown of Delhi, but as the visiting captain. At home as well as away however, the result remained the same - Kolkata Knight Riders the winners. And Gambhir walked away with the plaudits. This time, the margin was six wickets, and Kolkata now go top of the table with Delhi Daredevils moving down to second place.
Delhi batted first and their innings progressed in fits and starts - more fits, fewer starts. Virender Sehwag began in his usual belligerent fashion, and was scoring at a strike rate of close to 300 when Jacques Kallis struck in his first over. In his next over, Kallis had David Warner caught behind. Kallis was unlucky not get a third huge wicket just two balls later, when Mahela Jaywardene was given not out off a clear edge. That did lead to the most animated moment of the match, with Gambhir letting Jayawardene know what he thought, and Jayawardene responded angrily. (Also see: Match in pics)
However, after being well placed at 75 for two after nine overs, Delhi failed to kick on. It wasn't until Irfan Pathan teed off in the final overs that some life returned to the innings. Pathan's cameo ended in the final over but his 22-ball 36 had taken Delhi to a competitive 153.
For Delhi, the key while defending was to get Gambhir early. Strangely, Gambhir didn't have to face up to Morne Morkel or either of Umesh Yadav and Varun Aaron first up, with Sehwag throwing the new ball to Shahbaz Nadeem. Gambhir took 16 runs off Nadeem's second over, and kick-started Kolkata's chase, allowing Brendon McCullum time at the other end to find his form. By the time Gambhir was dismissed by Aaron, Kolkata had raced to 68 for one after seven overs, with McCullum well set. The Kiwi duly got to his first fifty in this IPL, and stitched together a healthy stand with Kallis.
Although Umesh Yadav got both off successive balls in the 16th over, the strikes merely delayed the inevitable, with Kolkata at 128 for three and requiring only 26 to win off 28 balls. The win was duly sealed in the 19th over. Most critically, Delhi's position at the perch is over for the time-being, and Kolkata, against pre-tournament calculations, are on top of the pile.