For the second game in a row, Dinesh Karthik pulled a rabbit out of the hat to guide Kolkata Knight Riders to close win. KKR made it two in two, after strangling Kings XI Punjab in a chase that was theirs all throughout. Needing 165 to win, KXIP were cruising at one stage with the score reading 115 without loss as KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal struck fifties. But in the final five overs, everything went downhill and KXIP ended up being two runs short.
“The way Rahul and Mayank batted, we thought we needed to do something really special to come back into the game. With Sunny and Varun there, and Prasidh bowling the way he has done in his first game,” Karthik said after the match.
“McCullum has been encouraging me to bat higher in the order, but I am looking at what the team needs. I have to give him credit for keeping me in this space. Whenever Russell gets injured, you know it is hard. He is a very special player. He is a very special person. We need to go and look at him.”
For KKR, it was spinner Sunil Narine and fast bowler Prasidh Krishna, who turned the tables on KKR. KXIP needed 22 from the final three overs but the match turned on its head in the 18th over. Nicholas Pooran (16) gifted his wicket in the over bowled by Narine who conceded just two runs. Needing 20 runs in the last two overs, KXIP lost two wickets in the space 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.
“Prasidh is special. The way he came back and bowled in the second spell shows how good he is. Sunil Narine stands up for us a lot of time. He is calm. He is always looking to find the best way to contribute to the team. Not only Sunil, a lot of credit needs to be given to Morgan and McCullum. I am very lucky to have the world’s best captain by results in my side,” Karthik added.