Pant returns but Delhi loses IPL opener. Kolkata edges Hyderabad by 4 runs

CHANDIGARH, India (AP) — Star Indian cricketer Rishabh Pant returned to action after 15 months out and couldn't stop his Delhi Capitals losing to Punjab Kings in their Indian Premier League season-opener on Saturday.

In the evening match, unheralded pacer Harshit Rana bowled a brilliant final over to restrict Sunrisers Hyderabad and give Kolkata Knight Riders a thrilling four-run win.

Pant marked his first match since he was seriously injured in a car crash in December 2022 by scoring a 13-ball 18, making a stumping and a catch.

But his Delhi team's 174-9 was chased down by Punjab's 177-6 with four balls to spare, led by Sam Curran's 63 off 47 balls.

Punjab was 42-2 after skipper Shikhar Dhawan and Jonny Bairstow were dismissed cheaply.

Curran led the revival, first with Prabhsimran Mann, then Liam Livingstone when Punjab was 100-4 in the 12th over.

Curran hit six fours and a six in his 47-ball 63, while Livingstone smacked three sixes and two fours in a 21-ball 38. They shared 67 runs off 42 balls before Khaleel Ahmed bowled Curran in the penultimate over. Livingstone saw out the win.

Delhi got a speedy start from David Warner (29) and Mitchell Marsh (20) but Punjab struck back through its pacers — Marsh was caught off Arshdeep Singh and Warner was bounced out by Harshal Patel.

Pant walked in to a rousing reception but played a scratchy knock and was out caught in the 13th over. With Shai Hope gone as well after a leading 33, Delhi was 111-4 then 111-5.

At 138-7, Abishek Porel was subbed in and smacked four fours and two sixes for 32 not out off the 10 balls he faced to lift Delhi to an unlikely par score.


Harshit Rana, one of the two young Kolkata bowlers who was not an international, held his nerve to concede only eight runs in the last over when Hyderabad needed 13.

Hyderabad was expected to canter home by that stage at a packed Eden Gardens.

Heinrich Klaasen smashed 63 off 29 balls as Hyderabad came within touching distance of Kolkata’s 208-7. He was out caught off the penultimate delivery, and Rana made Pat Cummins swing and miss the last delivery. Hyderabad finished on 204-7.

Klaasen hit eight sixes, scoring 50 off only 25 balls, and rescued Hyderabad from 107-3 in the 12th over. Klaasen put on 34 off 24 balls with Abdul Samad (15), and a whirlwind 58 off only 16 balls with Shahbaz Ahmed.

Rana (3-33) dismissed Klaasen and Ahmed in the final over in his first match since December.

Kolkata's win was set up by Andre Russell. Russell, coming from the Bangladesh Premier League final, boosted his team from 119-6 in the 14th over.

He blasted an unbeaten 64 off 25 balls with seven sixes and three fours. He reached 50 off only 20 balls and helped Kolkata put up the first 200-plus total of the season.

Opener Philip Salt gave Kolkata a good start with 54 off 40 balls but the hosts lost wickets as pacer T Natarajan bagged 3-32.


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