In a chase of 128, KKR’s spinners made life difficult, but the home team ultimately won

David Warner score 57 runs to win the match

The Delhi Capitals broke a five-game losing streak with their first victory of IPL 2023, but it was not an easy task. Despite having their greatest bowling performance of the season, they were only required to chase 128 runs, but their batsmen had trouble against Kolkata Knight Riders’ abundance of spin bowling. 

The score may have been 0-6 for the hosts if it weren’t for David Warner‘s fourth fifty of the year and Axar Patel continuing until the very end.

Even if their batting gave the game some late life, the Capitals bowlers in the first innings were the ones who laid the groundwork for victory. Ishant Sharma, who was taking part in his first IPL match since May 2021, grabbed 2 for 19 in four overs, while Anrich Nortje, who took 2 for 20, made batting challenging with his increased pace. 

The middle order was destroyed by Kuldeep Yadav and Axar, who shared four wickets, while Mukesh Kumar dazzled with his new-ball and yorker abilities.

They made sure that the Knight Riders’ batters once again had trouble putting together a strong performance. With the exception of Jason Roy’s 43, Knight Riders’ playing XI had four changes. However, their batting lacked focus. Even though their spinners dug deep, the objective ultimately proved to be too low. They have now dropped three straight games and four of their last six.

In the powerplay, each of the three pacers claimed a wicket. First out was Litton Das, who was making his IPL debut, trying to pull Mukesh from the outside off. 

Venkatesh Iyer then went from having a century to having a duck when he was caught at slip off a Nortje delivery that was going across the batter.

Ishant, though, was the most effective bowler during the powerplay, delivering metronomic lines at a rapid pace to contain the batsmen. In the sixth over, when he was unable to cross mid-on, his perseverance resulted in Nitish Rana’s dismissal.

For the Knight Riders, another top-order collapse was a common sight. The score looked much worse at 64 for 5 when Mandeep Singh and Rinku Singh were out to Axar while attempting to take the bowler on.

But Jason persisted in his fight. Although he first appeared to be timing it perfectly, he appeared to be holding one end up. Before Andre Russell joined him, he witnessed Sunil Narine hole out next. 

Before Mitchell Marsh’s 15-run over gave Knight Riders some chance of a good finish, they collected singles for two overs. Ishant, meanwhile, was replaced by Prithvi Shaw as the Capitals’ impact player as he finished the game with a record of 4-0-19-2.

Jason, however, was bowled out for 43 in the 15th over by Kuldeep. He appeared frustrated with himself for landing that way after failing to avoid falling on his square leg. Kuldeep showed equal amounts of joy and satisfaction after taking a wicket against his former team.

When he got arriving Impact Player Anukul Roy out by leg before the following ball, Kuldeep further damaged Knight Riders. As a result, Knight Riders were at 93 for 8, which quickly changed to 96 for 9 after Nortje fired Umesh Yadav.

Russell then attacked the strike. His success rate was not high despite his attempts to deal primarily with boundaries. In Russell’s penultimate over, Mukesh delivered yorker after yorker to annoy him, and Nortje followed suit. Kuldeep accelerated himself as well to stop the heavy hitter.

Knight Riders were at 108 for 9 when the final over began, but Mukesh had trouble hitting his yorkers. He was hit by Russell for a hat-trick of sixes, giving the Capitals 128 to chase.

Warner remained at one end while wickets fell from the other, like he has done the all season. Mitchell Marsh and Phil Salt only managed single digits, while Shaw only managed 13. That offered the Knight Riders some hope.

Warner, however, kept going and eventually scored his fourth fifty in as many games this season—and this one in only 33 balls. The short target allowed him to continue playing his shots, and by the time he raised his bat for the half-century, he had struck 11 fours.

While being more expressive against the seamers, he was particularly savage against Narine, smashing him for four fours in one over. Salt was the third man to leave, so Manish Pandey provided his assistance alongside Warner once he was gone, bringing the equation down to 35 in 42.

Varun, however, removed Warner for 57 and managed to scrape out a maiden, changing the equation to 35 off 36 very quickly. Pandey then attempted to strike out, but he was unsuccessful and ended up becoming Anukul’s second victim. When Rana rocked Aman Khan’s stumps next, the tension increased even higher.

However, with four wickets still in the bag and 15 needed off of 18, Capitals were still the favorites. Axar just dodged a lbw call and Lalit Yadav avoided a stumping in Varun’s 18th over, but the two batters made sure they didn’t give their wicket away. With Rana’s efficient 19th, the equation now requires seven from the last over.

Rana favored employing spin for the 20th over as well, but after using up all 16 of the available spin overs, he went to pacer Kulwant Khejroliya. With four balls left in the game, Axar easily defeated his challenge to win.