New Delhi, April 17 (IANS) Promising wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant's late surge helped Delhi Daredevils reach 168/7 after the hosts squandered a promising start by the openers in an Indian Premier League (IPL) 2017 contest against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) at the Feroz Shah Kotla here on Monday.
Electing to bat, Delhi rushed to a 50-run opening stand in just 4.4 overs with the opening duo of Sanju Samson (39) and Sam Billings (21) sending the KKR bowlers on a leather hunt.
Samson's purple patch continued to help the home side, with the Kerala youngster slamming seven boundaries, including three off pacer Umesh Yadav's over, to lay the platform for a massive total.
Billings looked good during his brief 17-ball stay, helping the ball to the ropes on two occasions before being caught behind by Robin Uthappa off pacer Nathan Coulter-Nile.
Just like the previous encounter against Kings XI Punjab on Saturday, Samson fell soon after his opening partner, facing 25 deliveries, with Umesh getting the better of the batsman this time around.
Samson, who faced 39 deliveries, fell in his attempt to poke at a back of a length delivery outside off to be smartly caught by Uthappa.
With Delhi at 63/2 after the eighth over, Shreyas Iyer (26) and Karun Nair (21) joined forces to add 43 runs for the third wicket before the Mumbaikar was undone, in his attempt to steal a second run, by a superb throw from de Grandhomme straight on the stumps. Iyer's 17-ball effort was laced with four hits to the fence.
Nair too couldn't seize the advantage of the life he got on 20 when he was dropped off Narine by the keeper. He was bowled in the very next over off a full toss from Coulter-Nile after facing 27 balls.
KKR made a brilliant comeback after the initial onslaught, to stop the flow of runs in the middle overs before Pant (38) took the attack to the opposition in the 17th over from Umesh.
Pant slammed three mammoth sixes, including a brilliant flick down the legs towards square leg, besides two boundaries as Delhi neared the 150-run mark.
Pant scored 34 runs to dominate the 35-run fifth wicket stand with Sri Lankan Angelo Matthews (1), who fell cheaply to West Indian Sunil Narine.
Playing his first match for KKR, pacer Coulter-Nile once again provided the crucial breakthrough to end Pant's 16-ball blitzkrieg, which was laced with two boundaries and four massive sixes.
South African all-rounder Chris Morris then struck two consecutive fours off Woakes to take Delhi to 168 with nine-ball 16.
Brief Scores: Delhi Daredevils 168/7 (Sanju Samson 39, Rishabh Pant 38, Shreyas Iyer 26, Nathan Coulter-Nile 3/22) vs Kolkara Knight Riders.