NEW DELHI: Punjab Kings remained in the fray for a playoffs berth, as they pushed themselves up to No. 5 on the points table with a much needed five-wicket win over Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) on Friday in IPL 2021.
Chasing 166 to win, Punjab, led by skipper and ‘Man of the Match’ KL Rahul‘s 67, overhauled the target in the final over with three balls to spare.
Here are the major highlights from the match:
Kolkata Knight Riders Innings
Iyer’s rich form continues: Kolkata Knight Riders lost opener Shubman Gill (7) early, but Venkatesh Iyer continued to be the find of the tournament. This time around he scored a magnificent 49-ball 67 and added 90 runs at a brisk pace with No. 3 Rahul Tripathi (34 off 26) to set a solid platform for KKR.
(Wagon wheel of Venkatesh Iyer’s knock)
Quick wickets hurt KKR’s momentum: But from 90-1 in 11.2 overs KKR slipped to 124-4 in the 16th over. The Punjab bowlers struck vital blows to dismiss Iyer, Tripathi and KKR skipper Eoin Morgan (2) and applied the brakes on the scoring rate at a crucial juncture of the KKR innings. Arshdeep Singh was the pick of the Punjab bowlers with his 3/32, while spinner Ravi Bishnoi took 2/22.
Nitish’s cameo took KKR to a fighting total: It was because of Nitish Rana’s 18-ball 31 that KKR could reach 165/7. He was dismissed in the 18th over by Arshdeep. It was a fighting total, but the PBKS bowlers had done a very good job in restricting KKR in what was a crucial match for them to stay in the hunt for a playoff berth.
(Wagon wheel of Nitish Rana’s knock)
Punjab Kings Innings
Rahul and Agarwal provided an excellent start: Punjab couldn’t have asked for a better start to their run-chase. Skipper Rahul and his fellow opener Mayank Agarwal put together a stand of 70 runs in just 8.5 overs. Mystery spinner Varun Chakravarthy broke that partnership by dismissing Agarwal for 40.
(Wagon wheel of KL Rahul’s knock)
Chakravarthy impressed yet again: Rahul lost his next partner Nicholas Pooran (12) early, and it was once again Chakravarthy who provided that breakthrough to bring his team back into the match. He ended with impressive figures of 2/24.
Dropped catches were a major reason for KKR’s defeat: The Kolkata outfit must be rueing dropping crucial catches in their defence of 165, which could have changed the face of the match. A total of three catches were dropped: Agarwal was let off by Morgan when he was batting on 1; Tripathi dropped Pooran in the 10th over, before putting down Shahrukh Khan (22 not out off 9 balls) in the final over.
(Wagon wheel of Mayank Agarwal’s knock)
Rahul, who was eventually dismissed by Iyer, ended up scoring a match-winning 67 off 55 balls to walk away with two points for his team and the ‘Man of the Match’ award.
Punjab now have 10 points after 12 games played and are just behind KKR on the points table on Net Run Rate.