Sharjah | Jagran Sports Desk: Kolkata Knight Riders kept their play-off hopes alive with a three-wicket win against Delhi Capitals in a low-scoring IPL match on Tuesday, thanks to Nitish Rana's calmness in a difficult chase.

The KKR bowlers made the most of the slow Sharjah track, limiting the Delhi Capitals to 127 for nine.

Rana (36 not out) and Sunil Narine (21 off 10 balls) went after Lalit Yadav in the 14th over, as well as seasoned Kagiso Rabada in the 16th over, to help KKR win the game.

The loss would serve as a good wake-up call for DC, who are still in second place in the table with 16 points, while KKR are in fourth place with 10 points.

On a relaid Sharjah track where run-scoring was difficult, DC did well enough till the 13th over when KKR were struggling at 76 for 4.

However, Rishabh Pant had by then finished Ravichandran Ashwin's (1/24 in 4 overs) quota and had to rely on Lalit Yadav's fast off-breaks.
Rana used the long handle with two huge sixes as 20 came off that over.

In the 16th over, it was Narine, who launched into Rabada and got 21 runs which put KKR in the driver's seat and despite some late jitters, Rana with a slashed boundary off Anrich Nortje finished the match in style.

Earlier, the KKR bowlers justified skipper Eoin Morgan's decision to put Delhi into bat as the ball was stopping before coming onto the bat.

For Delhi Capitals, only Steve Smith (39) and skipper Rishabh Pant (39) could cross the 30-run mark as run-scoring looked a difficult task. Not a single six was hit during the entire innings.

Capitals opener Shikhar Dhawan (24) hit five
boundaries in quick time as he converted a lot of balls into half volleys before Venkatesh pouched him at point of Lockie Ferguson.

After the Powerplay, DC were 39 for one but it soon became 40 for two, as Sunil Narine (2/18) castled Shreyas Iyer (1) in the seventh over.
Then Pant joined Smith and both found scoring difficult as there was no pace off the track and the balls were not really coming onto the bat.

Varun Chakravarthy (0/24) as usual was steady while Narine (2/18) also payed his part.
Smith tried changing gears and hammered successive fours in the 10th over off Chakravarthy, as Delhi got 12 from that over.

The Australian then slog swept Narine and was looking in his element when Ferguson pegged back Delhi by castling Smith as they slipped to 77/3.

Kolkata then grabbed three quick wickets, as Shimron Hetmyer (4), Lalit Yadav (0), who was trapped in front by Narine, and Axar Patel (0) too perished cheaply as Delhi was teetering at 92/6.

With Pant failing to up the ante, Venkatesh (2/29) bowled really well in the back-10 mixing it up nicely at a speed of nearly 130 kmph which is certain to keep Hardik Pandya on tenterhooks, if not in coming days, then definitely in coming months.

Pant became the leading run-scorer for Delhi Capitals surpassing Virender Sehwag.

(With PTI Inputs)

Posted By: Subhasish Dutta