IPL 2023: Rana’s fifty, Rinku, Russell’s death over show help KKR clinch thriller against PBKS

After Nitish Rana’s half-century and blitz in the final two overs by Andre Russell and Rinku Singh guided Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) to a 5-wicket win over Punjab Kings at the Eden Gardens, here on Monday.

The win took KKR to fifth on the table and got a new life to their challenge for a playoff spot. On the other hand, will be deflated with that loss and it is a big blow to their chances of making it through to the playoffs.

After Shikhar Dhawan’s fifty, Shahrukh Khan and Harpreet Brar’s blitz in the final two overs powered Punjab Kings (PBKS) to 179/7.

In reply, KKR opening duo Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Jason Roy came out with intent and the latter just blew away the opposition bowlers. After Rana’s 51 off 38 and Russell’s quickfire (42 off 23), Rinku (21 off 10) provided a fine finish with a boundary to clinch a thriller.

Chasing 180, KKR had a steady start with just 10 runs in the first two overs. The shackles were broken when both Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Jason Roy hammered Arshdeep Singh for 16 runs off the fourth over.

The slower one from Nathan Ellis does the trick in the next over as he produced a back-of-the-hand slower ball to get rid of Gurbaz. Skipper Nitish Rana and Roy took the Power-play total to 52/1.

Roy hit consecutive boundaries at the end of the seventh over. He looked to continue with his momentum but Harpreet Brar made an instant impact as he got rid of the English batter, who was looking to be in incredible form.

Roy went for a big sweep to deep mid-wicket but did not get the desired distance on it and Shahrukh Khan in the deep completed an easy catch. Kolkata was going along nicely but has lost a couple of quick wickets and this has handed the advantage to Punjab.

After two quiet overs, Rana hit the paddle and smashed two boundaries and a maximum to pace up the run-chase. The KKR skipper started continued hitting boundaries. Venkatesh looked to break the shackles but it doesn’t come off ad Rahul Chahar trapped him on a slower ball.

Rana completed his fifth with a double but could not complete the job for his side as he holed out on the next after making his half-century. He played a reverse sweep taking the aerial route but miscued it towards deep covers where Liam Livingstone took a stunning sliding catch.

With needed 51 off 24, the onus shifted on Andre Russell and Rinku Singh to take KKR over the line. Russell hit a boundary on the first of the 17th over then Rinku smoked it over the square leg fence for a six, taking 15 off the over.

With two boundaries coming off the 18th over, the equation reached 26 needed in two overs. Russell smacked back-to-back maximums in the penultimate over. After a dot ball, he went for another six and finished the over with a single, leaving 6 runs for the final over to win.

Arshdeep Singh started well in the final over with a dot and a couple of singles followed by a double and two were needed in two balls.

The drama continued as Russell tried to steal a bye and Jitesh Sharma was smart to lob it over the stumps to Arshdeep, who waited, then throw it at the nonstriker’s end and the batter had to return back to the hut.

Then, Rinku yet again finished things off and took KKR over the line with a boundary off the final ball.

Earlier, opting to bat first, PBKS were off to a strong start with opening duo Prabhsimran Singh and Dhawan collecting runs through boundaries. Harshit Rana struck early in the second over to dismiss Prabhsimran.

Harshit trapped his second victim in the form of Bhanuka Rajapaksa, who played an aggressive cover drive on the front foot but edged it behind and Gurbaz was quick to pouch it safely as Punjab were reduced to 32/2.

Then, Livingstone took Andre Russell to the cleaners, smashing him for four boundaries before falling in the next over off the bowling of Chakravarthy.

KKR spin trio of Sunil Narine (1-7), Suyash Sharma (1-26) and Varun Chakaravarthy (3-26) did extremely well to keep things under control in the middle overs. They even put a lid over the run rate. Nitish Rana then surprised everyone, when he got himself into the attack and got rid of the opposition skipper at a crucial juncture of the game.

The PBKS skipper hammered two successive boundaries, taking 11 runs off the over. Chakravarthy struck again in the 13th over to get rid of Jitesh for 21, breaking the 53-run stand and PBKS were four down.

Rana did the trick for his side. The Kolkata skipper put his hand up this time and has the final laugh and got rid of the Punjab captain.

After Shikhar Dhawan’s dismissal, Rishi Dhawan was playing a bit of a blinder to add crucial runs on the board but Chakravarthy got him in the last over of his spell to claim his third. In the next over, Suyash removed Sam Curran cheaply for 4.

Then, the duo of Harpreet Brar and Shahrukh Khan racked up 36 runs off the last two over to take PBKS to 179/7.

Brief scores:

Punjab Kings 179/7 in 20 overs (Shikhar Dhawan 57, Shahrukh Khan 21 not out; Varun Chakaravarthy 3-26, Harshit Rana 2-33) beat Kolkata Knight Riders 182/5 in 20 overs

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