Eoin Morgan credits Brendon McCullum for KKR’s success in UAE leg

Delhi Capitals was delayed from claiming a playoff berth in the Indian Premier League after losing to Kolkata Knight Riders by three wickets on Tuesday.

Delhi could have advanced with a win, and remained second overall. Kolkata was fourth after the third win in its last four games. Both teams still have three games remaining.

Kolkata skipper Eoin Morgan read the slow pitch well after winning the toss and Delhi was restricted to 127-9. Spinners Sunil Narine (2-18) and Venkatesh Iyer (2-29) led the attack.

Kolkata won by reaching 130-7 in 18.2 overs. Nitish Rana made an unbeaten 37 off 27 balls, but it was the lower order which starred, especially Sunil Narine, who took 21 runs from one Kagiso Rabada over.

“Winning the toss and fielding is not an easy thing to do, (but) the guys were more calculated today and it came off,” Morgan said. “Full credit has to go to our coach Brendon McCullum. It’s his ethos, his mindset, and the boys have bought into that.”

Young Delhi fast bowler Avesh Khan continued a dream IPL debut by taking 3-13 and raising his wickets tally to 18.

Ravichandran Ashwin got the key wicket of Morgan without scoring, and when Dinesh Karthik played onto Khan in the 15th over, Kolkata slipped to 96-5.

But Narine smashed two sixes and a four against Rabada in the next over and ripped the game from Delhi’s grasp.

Tournament top run-scorer Shikhar Dhawan hit five crisp boundaries among 24 runs for Delhi before falling to Lockie Ferguson at the point in the batting powerplay.

Steven Smith returned to the side but laboured for 34 deliveries in scoring 39 before he was clean bowled by Ferguson.

Rishabh Pant also struggled to accelerate, hitting just three boundaries in his 36-ball 39 as Narine and Iyer strangled Delhi with their spin.