Astonishingly pulling out a nail-biter by 2 runs, the late comeback from the bowlers of Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) shattered the hopes of Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) at Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi. With seven runs needed off the last ball, Glenn Maxwell had a chance to take the game to a super-over. However, he missed out on a sixer by inches and KL Rahul-led side faced the sixth consecutive defeat in the tournament.
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In pursuit of a 165-run target, KXIP went off to a dream start. The opening duo of KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal stood up against the KKR attack and stitched a 115-run opening stand. The game looked absolutely in KXIP’s hand but Sunil Narine and Prasidh Krishna put up a terrific show in the death over to turn the tables.
KL Rahul & Co needed 22 from the last three overs. But Nicholas Pooran’s dismissal in the 18th over turned the game upside down. Narine was the man who affected the dismissal and conceded just two runs. With 20 runs required in the last two overs, KXIP lost two wickets in a span of three balls, including that of Rahul, in the penultimate over bowled by pacer Prasidh Krishna.
KXIP needed 14 runs from the last over and six of the final delivery to take the match to Super Over but Glenn Maxwell could only score a boundary for KXIP to lose the match by two runs.
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Earlier, a counter-attacking 58 off just 29 balls by skipper Dinesh Karthik and opener Shubman Gill’s 57-run knock helped KKR post 164 for 6.Karthik’s decision to bat first seemed to be backfiring as KKR were struggling at 63 for 3 in the 11th over but he changed the complexion of the innings with a magnificent knock which included eight fours and two sixes.
Young opener Gill contributed a 47-ball 57 which had five fours. The 82-run stand between Karthik and Gill for the fourth wicket was the cornerstone of the KKR innings on a slow and difficult pitch.KKR, however, made a disastrous start, losing two wickets for just 25 runs in the powerplay. Rahul Tripathi’s (4) middle stump was sent cartwheeling by Mohammed Shami in the third over while Gill was guilty in the run-out of Nitish Rana (2) in a horrible mix up.
(With inputs from PTI)