IPL 2018: Andre Russell, Nitish Rana rule KKR-DD report card; Gautam Gambhir fails on return to old base

One of the most awaited contests this season since the Indian Premier League (IPL) auctions was Gautam Gambhir returning to his adopted him, Kolkata. When that happened, it turned out to be a rather one-sided affair as Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) brought out their ‘A’ game to squash Delhi Daredevils’ (DD) plans.

Here we take a look at how players from either team fared.

Nitish Rana – 10/10

A revelation at Mumbai Indians last year, Nitish Rana has stamped his presence in the Kolkata Knight Riders’ squad in one way or the other this season. If it was the wickets of AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli against Bangalore, it was a well calculated assault against Delhi Daredevils, where he resurrected a faltering innings and matched Andre Russell shot for shot. Rana’s 35-ball 59 laid the base for Kolkata’s total soaring to the 200 run mark.

Andre Russell – 10/10

Whatever the food Andre Russell consumes, it does its job exceptionally well for his insane sinewy muscles are capable of clearing any ground in the world by a large distance. In another six-hitting spree, Russell took on Delhi bowlers, flattening them for six sixes in a 12-ball knock of 41. Given the impact he has had thus far, it is a tad surprising that Russell continues to languish down the order in a batting line-up that does not inspire much confidence.

Rahul Tewatia – 10/10

To finish with figures of 3/18 when your teammates have conceded runs at an alarming rate is a feat in itself. That it comes from an uncapped player further shows the depth of resources in Indian cricket. Rahul Tewatia, in yet another impressive showing, conceded a solitary run in the final over of the Kolkata innings and picked up three wickets to help Delhi gather any momentum they could after the Russell-Rana carnage.

Kuldeep Yadav – 9/10

Kuldeep Yadav put the final nail in Delhi’s coffin when he had Rishabh Pant and Glenn Maxwell removed off consecutive overs. The wily chinaman spinner got stuck into the visitors and ended up with figures of 3/32 as Kolkata cruised to a comfortable win.

Sunil Narine – 8/10

The West Indian off-spinner couldn’t quite hit the groove with the bat but roared back to pick up three wickets with the ball and eliminate any chance of a DD resuscitation late in the game. After a rather ordinary season last year with the ball, Narine has come into his own this season.

Trent Boult – 8/10

One Delhi bowler who would go back with his reputation slightly enhanced is Trent Boult, who has benefited from the movement on offer on most wickets this season. Boult sent back the dangerous Narine early and then returned to dismiss Russell, who seemed ready to demolish the Howrah bridge with one of his sixes. Boult has been a silver lining for DD and could be the difference between an ordinary season and a great one.

Rishabh Pant – 7/10

Just when Delhi Daredevils had lost all hopes, Pant stepped up the gas with some attractive shots all around the wicket. Pant used his feet well as he countered Piyush Chawla and Narine with disdain in a 26-ball 43, which eventually came to an end at the hands of Kuldeep.

Shivam Mavi – 7/10

The youngster must have had a nightmarish night after the previous game when his skipper decided he wasn’t good enough to bowl in a pressure situation. Mavi silenced all such notions and a section of the Eden crowd when he forced Gambhir to chop one onto his stumps. The huge maiden wicket would give the under-19 seamer a world of confidence heading into a hectic week.

Glenn Maxwell – 7/10

In the company of a fired up Pant, Maxwell played his shots and the 62-run association appeared to be the kick the Delhi innings needed. However, Maxwell gifted his wicket to Kuldeep right after after dumping him for back-to-back sixes.

Robin Uthappa – 6/10

Kolkata’s go-to-man, Robin Uthappa, hasn’t quite gotten going this season but gave glimpses of what he is capable of in a fiery 19-ball 35 where he damaged Shahbaz Nadeem’s reputation with some mind-blowing hitting. KKR, though, need bigger knocks from their No 3

Chris Morris – 5/10

The South African all-rounder returned to the starting XI, and although he took Dinesh Karthik and Rana’s wickets, leaked runs in excess of 10-an-over. Out of the 41 runs that he conceded, 23 came off the final two overs he bowled. Morris couldn’t come into his own with the bat either as he was undone by Narine.

Piyush Chawla – 5/10

The leg-spinner did his job after being asked to open the bowling. He flummoxed Roy to get Kolkata off to the right start in defending a high total.

Chris Lynn – 4/10

A completely weird knock from the ‘Lynnsanity’ ended when he slogged Mohammad Shami’s knuckle ball to long-on. A 29 ball 31 isn’t what you expect from Chris Lynn at the top of the order but somehow he failed to get going on a track tailor-made for his style of batting.

Tom Curran – 3/10

The English seamer isn’t the finished product yet but in his short appearance thus far this season, Curran has proven to be a much better bowler than Mitchell Johnson.

Shahbaz Nadeem – 2/10

Nadeem copped a handful from Uthappa and Rana, but almost had the latter leg-before-wicket. One of Nadeem’s plus points in previous editions of the league was his economy rate, but that has sorely let him down this time around.

Dinesh Karthik – 2/10

While Karthik came in for some heavy criticism for his captaincy last game, the wicket-keeper batsman harboured his troops much better, but failed to do much with the willow in Kolkata’s first innings.

Vijay Shankar – 1/10

Vijay Shankar’s place in the DD line-up is under serious scrutiny after yet another failure with both bat and ball. The all-rounder conceded 12 off his only over and seemed completely clueless against Narine while batting. He wasted a review after being trapped in front by the wily Narine.

Shubman Gill – 1/10

Coming in at No 7 has been a hard task for a youngster, used to playing in the top order. Gill did little to further his cause with a mere six runs but Kolkata are also to blame for it for he could be used much better.

Mohammad Shami – 1/10

As much as Russell and Rana were impressive, Delhi’s bowlers, in particular Shami, bowled some rather innocuous stuff making things extremely easy for the duo. Shami ended with ridiculous figures of 1/53 in his four-over spell.

Jason Roy – 1/10

After a match-winning performance against Mumbai Indians, Roy returned to level ground as he was outfoxed by Chawla in the very first over of the run chase. Roy stepped down the track to counter Chawla but the leggie purposely bowled a wide and had the England opener stumped.

Shreyas Iyer – 1/10

Iyer’s hit-or-miss innings’ are costing Delhi much more than they probably realise. The capped Indian batsman, who was retained by Delhi Daredevils, has been rather inconsistent for Delhi’s liking.

Gautam Gambhir – 1/10

In his return to Kolkata, Gambhir could do little of note as Mavi, who wasn’t trusted with the ball last game, knocked over Kolkata’s former skipper with a delivery that cramped him for room. Gambhir chopped the ball onto the stumps to make the return to his adopted home a less celebratory one.