Abu Dhabi: KXIP entered the encounter 4 straight losses out of 4 previous matches while KKR was high with a 10-run victory against CSK. KXIP was very determined to win the match as a defeat in this match could seriously affect their chances of getting to play-offs. KKR, positioned in the middle of the points table wished to better their position with a victory against the Punjab side. Kings’ opening pair Mayank(56) and KL Rahul(74) completely dominated KKR in a 164 run chase but Prasidh and Narine stood between KXIP and win as they took KKR past winning ropes with a 2-run win against KXIP in a nail-biting thriller.
DK and Gill rescue KKR from a horror of a collapse
KKR skipper DK won the toss and chose to bat first. They were not up to the mark in the power play as Shami and young Arshdeep dictated the terms with great disciplined bowling. As a result, previous match hero Tripathi played out a maiden off Arshdeep and fell to Shami as the latter attacked Tripathi’s stumps. Rana didn’t last long as he was run-out due to late communication between him and Gill. In came one of the best middle overs specialist Morgan to re-build the innings. He and Gill successfully stopped the wicket-fall but the run-rate remained around 6rpo. Morgan scored 24 runs off 23 balls and fell to Bishnoi’s wrong’un. Scorecard read 63/4 at Morgan’s dismissal.
There was a serious need for quick runs and the new batsman at the crease is out-of-form DK. But DK played captain’s knock as he not only found his form back but also scored runs at a good rate(200 strike rate) along with Gill. This pair stitched 82 runs for the 5th wicket in 7 overs after which Gill was run out as he tried to steal a tight double against Simran’s bullet throw. Russel and Cummins couldn’t swing their arms as per KKR’s fans’ expectations due to which it felt like KKR were 10-15 runs short at the end of their innings. KKR finished at 164/6.
Mayank and Rahul’s effort is in vain as middle order failed to capitalize
165 is a par target to chase but KXIP’s openers made it look simple witha century stand. They treated KKR bowlers to cleaners and played shots to every corner of the ground. They respected good deliveries but didn’t hesitate to punish loose ones. Cummins bowled his first 3 overs economically as he conceded just 17 runs off them but his 4th over yielded 12 runs for KXIP. None of Narine, Nagarkoti, Cummins came to KKR’s rescue. DK tried all possible variations but nothing worked.
Three-fourth of the chase was completely under the control of KXIP as Mayank-Rahul batted for 14 overs and stitched a 115-run stand. When fans were hoping for a 10-wicket victory, Prasidh took Mayank’s wicket in the 15th over. This was the turning point of the match. Pooran, after scoring 16 runs off 10 balls, mistimed a heave off Narine and Narine was pin-point to hit the stumps. From here, KXIP completely lost the plot. Simran(4 off 7) failed, KL had slowed down a bit and finally played Prasidh’s good length delivery onto his stumps.
KXIP needed 14 off the last over with Mandeep and Maxwell at the crease. Maxwell got 7 off the first four balls and Mandeep holed out the penultimate ball to Green to bag a golden duck. 7 runs were needed off the last ball and Maxwell was on strike. Maxwell couldn’t take the match to the super over as he missed the sixer by a few millimeters as he slashed Narine’s full-wide delivery over covers. KKR won the thriller by just 2 runs and climbed up a spot in the points table. While KXIP slimmed their chances of play-offs by spilling out a should-win match and landing on the wrong side of the result.
Dinesh Karthik was awarded Man of the Match for his captain’s knock.
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