Kolkata Knight Riders showed a lot of character in a spine-tingling 2–run win over Kings XI Punjab in a game that was decided by slimmest of margin when Glenn Maxwell missed out on a six by centimetres to force a superover in match 24 of IPL 2020 in Abu Dhabi on Saturday
Dinesh Karthik’s KKR pulled a rabbit out of the hat when they turned the game around in the last three overs when the match was all for KXIP’s to lose.
The side was poised to win at one point chasing a paltry 165 total when they had 115 runs on board for no wicket with KL Rahul (71) and Mayank Agarwal (56). However, with both the batsman departing in the closing stages meant KKR produced another match-winning death bowling spell by Sunil Narine and Prasidh Krishna to turn the game in their favour to clinch the victory.
Narine (28/2) and Prasidh (29/3) gave away just 24 runs in the last three over when KXIP needed just 27 to ensure victory. While Narine removed all dangerous Nicholas Pooran, who scored a flashy 16, Prasidh rattled the stumps of Rahul in the penultimate over before hunting down Mayank in the 15th over to do the unthinkable.
Earlier in the first ininngs, KKR captain Dinesh Karthik finally found form with the bat as he smashed 58 off 29 balls to take his side to 164/4, while Shubman Gill (57) too raced to his second fifty of the tournament.
Chasing an on-par total, KXIP were off to a strong start with KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal taking the team past 50 in the first seven overs. KXIP had some fortune on their side as well with Mayank Agarwal being dropped at long-off in the second over by an unlikely Andre Russell, who also injured his knee in his failed attempt to save a boundary. The incident left KKR bereft of a key bowling option as the Trinidadian has been crucial for the side in death overs.
In a partnership of equal claims, the in-form duo managed to steadily put 76 runs on the board and had a psychological advantage over KKR, who were running out of ideas in containing the run flow.
The duo soon took the stand past 100, with both crossing individual 50-mark that was combined with 12 boundaries and a solitary six.
KKR’s breakthrough arrived in the 15th over when Prasidh K removed Mayank (56 off 39) with 114 runs on board. Rahul though was looking eager to steer KXIP to victory with Nicholas Pooran doing what he knows the best: smashing!
However, when one thought nothing could go wrong for KXIP with 21 needed of 16. the turnaround started with Pooran falling to Narine in the 18th over and this was quickly followed by just a run in four balls; forcing KXIP to press the panic button and eventually to a heart-wrenching defeat.
Maxwell did try to clear the fence over deep mid-wicket when seven runs where needed off the last delivery, but the ball landed just at the edge of the boundary.
Earlier after asked to bowl first, Mohammed Shami (1/30) provided the breakthrough for KXIP with the wicket of opener Rahul Tripathi (4) in the second over. Soon after, a mix-up led to the run out of Nitish Rana (2).
Eoin Morgan then joined Gill and tried to steady the ship for KKR, but couldn't last long as he was dismissed in 11th over off Ravi Bishnoi for 24. Karthik then came out all guns blazing and gave KKR some much-needed momentum. He put up 82 runs for the fourth wicket with Gill, scoring most of the runs before the latter was run out in the 18th over for a 47-ball 57.
Karthik nearly played through the innings but was run out off the last ball of the KKR innings.
More to follow…