Kolkata, Apr 3: Kolkata Knight Riders started their title defence on a confident note as they comfortably defeated Delhi Daredevils by six wickets in the opening encounter of the sixth edition of Indian Premier League (IPL6) here on Wednesday night.
A clinical bowling effort saw KKR restrict Daredevils to a modest 128 in 20 overs and then they chased down the runs with eight balls to spare on a Eden Gardens strip where batsmen found difficult to score freely.
Mystery spinner Sunil Narine with brilliant figures of 4/13 kept Daredevils under tight leash while skipper Gautam Gambhir's useful 42 kept the defending champions' run-chase on track.
Jacques Kallis (23) and Manoj Tiwary (23) were involved small but useful partnerships as KKR always looked firm favourites to pull off the chase despite losing a few wickets towards the end.
Ashish Nehra gave an early breakthrough removing Manvinder Bisla (4) but skipper Gautam Gambhir and elder statesman Jacques Kallis added 47 runs for the second wicket before the South African legend was holed out in the deep as he failed to punish a rank long-hop from left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem.
Gambhir was off the blocks as he first slashed Irfan Pathan over point for a boundary and then lofted the bowler over long-on for a six.
Kallis's straight push and a 'Nataraja shot' off Nehra saw KKR score at a quick clip. Once Kallis was gone, Gambhir-Tiwary duo added another 41 runs before a quicker one from Johan Botha caught the left-hander on the wrong-foot.
Gambhir's 42 came off 29 balls with five fours and a six. Tiwary's run-a-ball 23 came to an end when Nadeem (2/22) got his second wicket. Yusuf Pathan (18 no) and Eoin Morgan (14 no) completed the formalities with minimum fuss.