Russell and Rinku pen another nail-biting conclusion for KKR

At the Eden Gardens, Varun Chakravarthy’s sparing bowling, Nitish Rana’s fifty, and quickfire blows from Jason Roy, Andre Russell, and Rinku Singh propelled Kolkata Knight Riders to a last-ball victory over Punjab Kings. The five-wicket victory on Monday allowed KKR to win their fifth game of the year and climb to the fifth spot in the standings.

An enjoyable beginning

In the Powerplay, Shikhar Dhawan and Prabhsimran Singh attacked the KKR bowlers with full might. They did not hesitate to leave the crease and play on the up. In the opening over by Vaibhav Arora, Prabhsimran scored three boundaries, then Dhawan welcomed Harshit Rana by hitting two additional boundaries in the first three balls. However, a rapid string of wickets immediately neutralized the first assault. The visitors lost the wickets of Prabhsimran, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, and Liam Livingstone as they added 58 runs in the Powerplay.

The middle of the spin choke

In the Powerplay itself, Chakravarthy had imposed himself, ensnaring Livingstone from behind. However, Sunil Narine and Suyash Sharma also found it challenging to get away with on a field that was slow and helped the spinners. The three early strikes also restrained Dhawan’s aggressive style as he attempted to settle the innings alongside Jitesh Sharma. The pair utilized the rare opportunities that presented themselves and rotated the strike effectively. Jitesh hit a half-tracker from Suyash for a six while Dhawan guided a pitched-up delivery by Chakravarthy for a boundary.

Around the halfway point of the game, the pair appeared poised to increase the scoring rate with a flurry of boundaries off Suyash and Narine, but Jitesh was caught behind off Chakravarthy. A few balls later, Dhawan reached his fifty by top-edging a sweep off Narine for a six and was out after misfiring on a loft off Nitish Rana to long on.

More wickets were lost as the scoring pace was controlled. Chakravarthy removed Rishi Dhawan, and Suyash had Sam Curran caught behind. PBKS had been held to 143 for 7 at the end of the 18th over.

The Shahrukh-Brar carnage

Shahrukh Khan and Harpreet Brar, who were in dire need of runs, swung their bats boldly, frequently throwing the inexperienced pair of Harshit and Vaibhav off their lines and lengths. The pair managed to add 36 runs in the final two overs to help the visitors to a respectable total, some of which were edged for boundaries and some of which hit the middle of the bat.

A powerful but steady beginning

The KKR openers were more methodical with their strokeplay than PBKS was. Jason Roy and Rahmanullah Gurbaz, two free-flowing bats, were cautious but seized their chances to score when they presented themselves. In contrast to Rishi Dhawan, who gave Roy a few chances to score boundaries in the third over, Gurbaz exploited his natural technique to hit a pick-up ball off Arshdeep for a six and then followed it up with a few rippling boundaries. Gurbaz was hit on the pads and adjudged leg before by Nathan Ellis’ slow yorker, but Sam Curran’s two boundaries put an end to PBKS’ powerplay at 52 for 1.

Middle: Cat-and-mouse game

The KKR hitters attacked Livingstone while Rahul Chahar did a good job of regulating the scoring rate in the middle, particularly by keeping Venkatesh Iyer in check. Roy finished the spinner’s first over with a few boundaries, then Rana took him on in the next, greeting him with two boundaries and a six. Three tight overs, including the dismissal of Roy (caught slog sweeping to deep mid-wicket), were sandwiched between those five deliveries.

Iyer battled to a 13-ball 11 before making a hole-in-one to long on. At 129 for 4 in 16 overs, the hosts had been held in check by the subsequent tight overs.

Russell and Rinku put the finishing touches on

Early on, Andre Russell, who had walked out to bat in the fourteenth over, was scratchy. Even his initial boundary came from Ellis’ top edge, which sparked his movement. While the strategy of yorking or going short to Russell worked very well, the all-rounder was quick to go big in response to variations and mistakes made by the PBKS pacers during execution. Ellis’ slower delivery and Arshdeep’s full one were both blasted for outs. He hit three sixes off of Sam Curran in the 19th over: the first was a yorker, the second was of a somewhat shorter length, and the third was a slower bouncer. KKR only had to score 6 runs in the final over with 20 runs taken from the penultimate over.

Russell was run out, but Arshdeep bowled beautifully to reduce the equation to 2 runs off the final delivery. A low full toss on Rinku’s legs, however, was picked up and delivered for a boundary via the fine leg region due to an unusual length miscalculation.


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