But it was Manish Pandey who held his nerve as he completed a fine chase to take Kolkata Knight Riders to a thrilling win over Delhi Daredevils.
Chasing 169 to win, the Knight Riders found themselves in trouble early on as Zaheer Khan and Pat Cummins sliced through their top order to leave them at 21/3 in the third over. He has worked out his game against each of the bowlers as he stayed back to me right through. "The wicket was good and the outfield fast, so that too was helpful", Yusuf said. Gautam Gambhir and Robin Uthappa - two of the team's biggest match-winners - were dismissed and 85% of the chase was still left. This was the sixth time Zaheer had dismissed Gambhir in the Indian Premier League. Manish would hog the limelight finishing off the match, but Pathan with 59 from 39, was equally impressive and ensured the asking rate wasn't beyond his side's reach. "We were trying to put the bowlers and the captain under pressure so that they commit a mistake and so do the fielders", ESPNcricinfo quoted Yusuf as saying iplt20.com after the match. KKR however ended the match with 169/6 in 19.5 overs, riding on Pathan-Pandey stand of 110 runs. Pandey had to see it through and so he did, batting sensibly as Yusuf Pathan counterattacked with a half-century, and then taking over the hitting duties towards the end. KKR needed nine runs from the last over.
"It's hard to describe the effort of Sanju Samson".
On the way to his unbeaten 69, Pandey struck three sixes and four fours, the last of which was the 500th boundary of the ongoing IPL season. The leg-spinner started the over in brilliant fashion, conceding no runs off the first two balls and also removing Chris Woakes.
Narine, who walked into the crease after Woakes was stumped, rotated the strike so that Pandey could have a go.
However, Pandey stood firm, following a crunching six with a game-winning double on the penultimate delivery to steer Kolkata home. Coulter-Nile's heroics helped his side restrict Delhi Daredevils to 168 for 7. "Yusuf (Pathan) and Manish (Pandey) have been doing well and we back our middle and lower order to come good even if we lose wickets at the top", said Coulter-Nile. He was hit for four boundaries in his first over that yielded 17 runs, including three fours by Samson and one by Billings.
He got the wickets of Sam Billings, Karun Nair and the hard-hitting Rishabh Pant who was going ballistic at that time, having already flogged Umesh Yadav for 26 runs in one over.
Samson fell shortly after for 39, but just as the Daredevils seemed to be rebuilding their innings, Shreyas Iyer was run out by Colin de Grandhomme for 26. Next, the bowler sent back Karun Nair with an nearly yorker-length delivery. Pant launched into a furious assault hitting him for three sixes and two fours in that over. Sunil Narine bamboozled Angelo Mathews (1) in the next over while Rishabh Pant's attacking knock of 38 off just 16 deliveries was brought to an end by Nathan Coulter-Nile in the 19th over.