Quinton de Kock and a miracle catch take Eden away from Knights
Quinton de Kock (140 not out off 70 balls) and KL Rahul (68 not out off 51 balls)’s record opening stand seemed to have shut the door on the Kolkata Knight Riders at the end of the first half itself.
Opting to bat first after winning the toss at the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai, Lucknow Super Giants posted a massive 210 without loss, thanks to their opening duo.
Determined not to throw in the towel in what was the Knights’ must-win clash, Nitish Rana (42), captain Shreyas Iyer (50) and Sam Billings (36) did their best to lay the foundation in what looked an extremely difficult run chase.
Rinku Singh (40 off 15 balls) and Sunil Narine (21 not out off 7 balls), in spite of match-winner Andre Russell’s early departure, had taken the Knight Riders on the verge of what could have been a thrilling win. Their brilliance, though, wasn’t enough as the Knights finished at 208 for 8, which ended their IPL 2022 campaign. Lucknow confirmed their place in the playoffs with a two-run win, being the second team to make the cut after Gujarat Titans.
The breathtaking 58-run seventh-wicket partnership between Rinku and Narine, esepcially when all seemed over after Russell’s dismissal, was more like a fairy-tale run chase for the Knights. That indeed was a tremendous show of character, particularly by Rinku, who has been one of the finds for KKR this season.
In the end though, the fairy tale was brought to an end by Marcus Stoinis, who maintained his composure in spite of being hit for 18 by Rinku off the first four balls of the deciding over. Equally impressive was the terrific catch taken by Evin Lewis, who ran in almost 30m from deep cover and took a one-handed screamer that sent Rinku back, when KKR required only three off the last two balls.
Stoinis’ yorker was a bit too much for Umesh Yadav. It ended KKR’s hopes of making the playoffs and playing at Eden Gardens, their home turf.Besides a relieved Stoinis and his teammates, Lucknow mentor Gautam Gambhir appeared more than ecstatic in the dugout. The heartbroken Knights could only watch in despair.
Earlier, dropped on 12 by debutant Abhijeet Tomar in the third over of the game off Umesh, De Kock made the most of the let off. And with captain Rahul turning out to be the South Africa wicketkeeper-batsman’s perfect foil, the duo powered Lucknow past 200. Ten fours and as many sixes adorned De Kock’s superlative knock, while Rahul had no problem in playing second fiddle.
Make no mistake, Mohsin Khan’s spell (3/20) was certainly one of the crucial elements in terms of the game’s outcome. On a pitch having so much of purchase for the batters, he varied his pace as well as his length excellently even as Avesh Khan almost single-handedly ruined it for Lucknow with his erratic stuff.
Besides, the left-arm quick picked up the key wicket of Russell after removing Venkatesh Iyer and Tomar early on. Lucknow couldn’t have asked for more from Mohsin.