JP Duminy hit an unbeaten 52 after skipper Dinesh Karthik set the foundation with a fighting 56-run knock as Delhi Daredevils edged out Kolkata Knight Riders by four wickets in a thrilling IPL-7 contest in Dubai on Saturday.
Electing to bat, KKR posted a decent 166 for 5, thanks to some brilliant batting by Robin Uthappa and Manish Pandey. Delhi responded to the challenge well and overhauled the target with three balls to spare. Karthik batted superbly in the top order while Duminy finished it off in style with a six off Piyush Chawla.
Like KKR, Delhi too had to endure a bad start as Murali Vijay (0) was run out in the first over. Mayank Agrawal was off to a superb start as he hit some terrific shots but could not stay long at the crease. His short but entertaining 26-run knock was ended by Morne Morkel.
Karthik and Ross Taylor had a job at hand but the Kiwi batsman was bowled by Jacques Kallis and Delhi skipper was joined by Duminy at the crease. Karthik batted intelligently as he rotated the strike well and waited for bad balls to punish. He hit Piyush Chawla for a six and a four in the 10th over, gradually moving towards a half-century.
He completed his fifty with a sweetly timed chip off Shakib Al Hasan in the cover region but could not finish it off for his side, becoming a victim of the wily Sunil Narine. Attempting a reverse sweep, Karthik could not read the line and was found plumb in front of the wicket.
Delhi then needed 44 runs from five overs. Manoj Tiwary was removed by Morkel when the batsman went for a big shot but failed to clear the boundary fielder. But Jimmy Neesham hit a huge six off Chawla and Duminy hit two sixes off country-mate Morkel to get close to the target.
Delhi required six runs off the last over. Chawla started well with a dot ball and the wicket of Neesham off the second ball to make it interesting but Duminy sealed the game for Delhi with a six off Chawla in the next ball.
Karthik's 56 came off 40 balls while left-handed Duminy faced only 35 balls, hitting three fours and as many sixes in his match-winning knock.
Earlier, Uthappa (55) and Pandey (48) batted sensibly under pressure to guide Kolkata to a competitive total.
Pacemen Mohammed Shami and Nathan Coulter-Nile provided a sensational start to Delhi by removing both the openers before they could even open their accounts. Shami had dangerman Jacques Kallis caught at first slip for a golden duck while Coulter-Nile extended Gautam Gambhir's poor run by having the KKR skipper caught in the leg-slip region for his second successive duck in the tournament.
Shami struggled for control but swung the ball both ways to trouble the KKR batsmen. In bowling-friendly conditions, boundaries were hard to come, so Pandey and Uthappa relied on singles and twos to steady the innings.
Uthappa patiently added 64 runs for the third wicket with Pandey and then quickly shared a 57-run stand for the fourth wicket with Shakib (30 not out) to lift KKR after they elected to bat.
KKR collected 103 runs in the last 10 overs, courtesy Pandey's 48 off 42 balls with five shots to the fence and Uthappa's 55 in 41 balls, including six boundaries.
The two batsmen batted cautiously and took their side to 63 for 2 at half-way stage. Pandey broke the shackles by hitting Shabaz Nadeem for two successive boundaries but the left-arm spinner got his revenge by castling the batsman off the last ball of 11th over.
Shakib also played a crucial role in KKR's progress with his unbeaten cameo off 22 balls. He hit a six and two fours. Shakib was aggressive from the start as he lifted Nadeem for a six over mid-wicket and Uthappa creamed a six and a four off Neesham to take KKR to 112 for 3 in 15 overs.
Uthappa departed shortly after completing his fifty but Shakib stayed on smartly to end the innings in style.
(With inputs from PTI)