Lucknow Super Giants 176 for 8 (Pooran 58, Shardul Thakur 2-27, Narine 2-28) beat Kolkata Knight Riders 175 for 7 (Rinku 67*, Roy 45, Bishnoi 2-23, Yash Thakur 2-32) by one run
KKR had a flying start before they lost their way in the middle overs. It came down to 56 needed from the last four overs, and then 41 from two. Rinku took 20 off Naveen-ul-Haq in the 19th, leaving 21 for the last.
Vaibhav Arora took a single on the first ball of the final over, bowled Yash Thakur. That was followed by two dots and two wides, making it 18 required from three balls. Rinku hit the next one for a six but could pick up only a four off the fifth. A six on the final delivery only reduced the margin of defeat.
LSG’s hit-and-miss start
After being sent in, LSG lost a wicket in the third over of the innings when Harshit Rana bounced out Karan Sharma for 3. Prerak Mankad tried to attack but he was more like a cat on a hot tin roof. After being on 4 off eight balls, he picked up five fours in the next two overs but hardly looked comfortable. Once the powerplay ended, his attempted upper cut against Arora was taken at deep cover. Two balls later, Arora bounced out Marcus Stoinis for a duck, making it 55 for 3.
Varun Chakravarthy and Sunil Narine dragged LSG back further. Narine had Krunal Pandya mistiming a slog sweep to deep square leg in the tenth over, and Varun got Quinton de Kock to top-edge to deep midwicket. De Kock, who picked up two sixes in the powerplay – his only boundaries on the night – ended with 28 off 27 balls.
Pooran hits them beyond the boundary
Pooran came in at No. 7, a ball after the halfway mark in the innings. Varun induced an outside edge straightaway but Pooran had played it with soft hands, resulting in the ball falling short and to the left of first slip and going for four. The next ball, though, was too short, and Pooran cut it for four. Varun then overcompensated, erring on the fuller side and was duly smashed for a straight six.
With another six in the spinner’s next over, Pooran moved to 23 off just ten balls. KKR had brought in Suyash Sharma as the Impact Player for Harshit, who had bowled three overs for 1 for 21. Pooran welcomed Suyash with yet another six, and ended the over with a four, making sure the legspinner didn’t bowl another over in the game.
In the 19th over, Pooran brought up his half-century with a six off Shardul Thakur. He sent the next ball over the boundary line as well, but Thakur had him caught at deep third when the batter attempted a hat-trick of sixes. Andre Russell conceded only three off the first four deliveries of the 20th over before K Gowtham hit the last two for a six and four to take LSG past 175.
KKR quick out of the blocks
KKR had an almost impossible task in front of them: they needed to win in 8.5 overs to lift their net run rate above Rajasthan Royals’ to stay alive for the playoffs. Jason Roy and Venkatesh Iyer smashed 30 in the first two overs but the next two brought only 15. Roy did hit three fours off Krunal’s first three balls in the fifth over but Iyer fell to Gowtham in the next, and KKR finished the powerplay on 61 for 1.
Rinku takes it close
With 63 needed from 28 balls, Russell hit Bishnoi for a six but was bowled on the next ball. Rinku was still in the middle, and if there is one thing this season has taught us, it is that no game is over till Rinku is batting. En route to his unbeaten 67 off 33 balls, he took Naveen for three fours and six in the 19th over but with 18 needed from three balls, he could hit only 6, 4 and 6.
Hemant Brar is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo
(With Inputs from ESPN)
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