Varun Chakravarthy bowled a crucial spell in the first half and the batsmen, including Andre Russell, put in a combined effort in the next. The combination effected a vital five-wicket win — down to the last ball — for the Kolkata Knight Riders over Punjab Kings at the Eden on Monday, keeping their playoffs prospects alive.
Chakravarthy (3/26) struck in key moments of the game with the important wickets of Liam Livingstone and Jitesh Sharma to stem the flow of runs even after Punjab captain Shikhar Dhawan (57) was looking solid, having brought up his third half-century in this IPL.
Varun Chakravarthy celebrates after dismissing Liam Livingstone, the first of his three wickets, at the Eden on Monday. Sanat Kumar Sinha
But poor line and length from quicks Vaibhav Arora and Harshit Rana enabled M. Shahrukh Khan and Harpreet Brar amass 36 off the last two overs of Punjab’s innings as the visitors managed to post a competitive 179/7.
In reply, Jason Roy (Impact Player for Suyash Sharma) helped the home side off to a brisk start as they were 63/1 after seven overs, losing Rahmanullah Gurbaz.
But Rahul Chahar, making good use of the drier Eden pitch and varying his pace and length, brought Punjab back in the contest and so did Brar.
Captain Nitish Rana (right) embraces Rinku Singh, who hit the winning boundary on Monday. Sanat Kumar Sinha
Left-arm spinner Brar first had the well set Roy (38) holing out at the deep before Chahar induced a miscued stroke from Venkatesh Iyer, who didn’t look too comfortable at the crease after hurting his leg late in the Punjab innings. The Knights still weren’t too perturbed as captain Nitish Rana (51), having dismissed his counterpart and Delhi teammate Dhawan earlier, looked quite fluent. But attempting a switch-hit off Chahar cost Rana his wicket.
It was then all up to Andre Russell (42) and Rinku Singh (21 not out). The duo were on the ball from the onset and then in the penultimate over, Russell, taking a pounding early on from Livingstone, clobbered Sam Curran for three sixes to bring the equation down to six off the final over.
The pressure, though, was back again on the Knights as Arshdeep Singh’s tight length made it two needed off the last ball. But Arshdeep faltered on the last delivery, bowling a full toss, which Rinku put away for a four at the fine-leg region.