- Gautam Gambhir was not part of the Daredevils playing XI on Friday.
- New Zealand opener Colin Munro replaced the former skipper against the KKR.
- Daredevils won the match by 55 runs and climbed to the seventh spot on the table.
Delhi Daredevils' newly-appointed skipper Shreyas Iyer has revealed that Gautam Gambhir was not dropped but that their former captain himself wanted to sit out of their match against Kolkata Knight Riders on Friday, April 27.
Iyer added that his respect for Gambhir "has really gone up" after the India opener made the "courageous decision" ahead of what was a crucial Indian Premier League (IPL) game for the Ricky Ponting-coached side, who were reeling at the bottom of the points table.
Notably, Gambhir had stepped down as captain of the Daredevils only earlier this week. The 36-year-old's 122-match streak of leading his IPL teams came to end Friday, which was also the first time he has missed a game in the cash-rich league since March 25, 2010.
"I didn't make any call to be honest. It wasn't my decision to drop him. He himself made the call to sit out. It's a very courageous decision," Iyer told reporters during the post-match press conference in Delhi.
He added: "My respect for him has really gone up. It's good to see a captain, who is not playing well, backing himself out. And when Colin [Munro] came, we got the desired start."
Nonetheless, Gambhir was at the dugout cheering for his team as Iyer began his captaincy stint on a high. The Daredevils played a fearless brand of cricket throughout 40 overs and sealed a 55-run win to leapfrog Mumbai Indians into the seventh spot.
In the absence of Gambhir, who has scored only 85 runs from six matches in the ongoing season, New Zealand big-hitter Colin Munro and India's U-19 World Cup-winning captain Prithvi Shaw gave the Daredevils a solid start with the bat after Iyer had lost the toss.
Shaw, Munro shine; Iyer elated with the win in captaincy debut
Shaw, who hit his maiden IPL half-century (44-ball 62) Friday, joined hands with Iyer after the exit of Munro and the duo added 68 runs together in quick succession.
Skipper Iyer made sure he stayed till the end as he finished with 40-ball 93. He smashed KKR's teenage pacer Shivam Mavi for 29 runs, including four sixes, in the final over of their innings.
In reply, KKR were reeling at 77-5 before Andre Russell and Shubman Gill combined to stitch a 65-runs stand. However, it was not enough for the visitors as they managed only 164 on board at the end of 20 overs.
Iyer expressed delight at winning his first IPL match as captain and lauded the team effort Friday against KKR. He also shed light on the importance of the solid opening stand from Shaw and Munro.
"Obviously a great feeling getting on the winning side. It is an amazing feeling winning my first game as a skipper. All of us contributed for this win," the newly-appointed skipper said.
"He [Prithvi] has been really batting well since the start of the season. Even in the practice games before the IPL. It is always important how he is starting off. Colin Munro at the top with him added 50 runs and that benefitted for the team."