Shikhar Dhawan in full flow is a treat to watch. He played one of his best T20 knocks, an unbeaten 63-ball 97, as he guided Delhi Capitals to a comprehensive seven-wicket win over Kolkata Knight Riders at the Eden Gardens here on Friday.
Delhi restricted Kolkata to 178 for seven after inserting the host in and achieved the target with seven balls to spare. It maintained a clean slate against the Dinesh Karthik-led side and recorded its fourth win of the season.
As it happened| Dhawan, Pant heroics make it a double for DC against KKR
Dhawan's brilliance fetched DC a strong start. Relying on his exceptional timing and placement, the southpaw, who hit 11 fours and two sixes, drove fluently on both sides apart from cutting and flicking the KKR bowlers with confidence.
Dhawan set the tone by plundering two sixes, through uppercuts, and a four off Prasidh Krishna in the third over. He then hit Russell for three boundaries in the next over to make his intentions clear.
Even as the visitor lost Prithvi Shaw and Shreyas Iyer to fine catches by Karthik, a fully-focused Dhawan never allowed KKR any substantial gain.
Dhawan, who bettered his previous highest score of 95 not out, joined hands with Rishabh Pant (46 off 31), who played a comparatively quieter knock, for crucial 105 runs and made DC's journey to the target a smooth affair.
Earlier, fielding a pair of new openers, Chris Lynn — he was unwell and Sunil Narine made way for Carlos Brathwaite — KKR lost Joe Denly off the first ball of the match.
However, Gill, who had reached double digits only once in the last five outings, rose to the challenge of opening the innings and gathered his first noticeable score (65 off 39 balls) of the season.
FOLLOW: 2019 IPL FULL COVERAGE
The 19-year-old masked the sense of responsibility with his usual cool demeanour and displayed a beautiful mix of aggressive shots and deft touches in front and behind the stumps to forge a 32-ball 63-run stand with Robin Uthappa (28 off 30).
Uthappa improvised smartly to hit three superb boundaries off star DC bowler Kagiso Rabada's opening over.
The loss of Uthappa and Nitish Rana did not perturb Gill. He rotated the strike and exhibited some fabulous strokes, including two sixes. He was caught at short fine-leg off Keemo Paul.
KKR's 54,000 fans gave a rousing welcome to the dependable Andre Russell in the 13th over.
The Caribbean stole some cheeky boundaries before unleashing his familiar fireworks despite grimacing due to a painful wrist and aching ribs (after being hit). Russell took a liking to Rabada for special treatment as he clobbered the South African for a six and a four in one over and two massive sixes on the leg side in another.
Russell's departure disappointed the spectators and slowed down KKR's progress.
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