The 66th match of this year’s IPL was an edge-of-the-seat affair, to say the least. It was an extremely important game for both sides as Kolkata Knight Riders needed this win to still be in running for the playoffs while Lucknow Super Giants needed this one to officially qualify for the playoffs. The stage was already set for fireworks as a lot was on the line and both the teams more than delivered when it mattered the most with LSG getting a slight upper hand.
After opting to bat first, LSG openers Quinton de Kock and KL Rahul smashed the KKR bowlers all around the park while adding 210 runs to the board. The pair remained unbeaten, thus creating the record for the highest-ever opening partnership in IPL history. Both were looking in a magical flow as they piled up runs, De Kock made an unbeaten 140 in 70 balls while the skipper KL Rahul too was not out on 68 from 51 balls.
The saying, ‘catches win matches’ could not be more true as a ripper from Evin Lewis sent Rinku and KKR’s hopes back to the dugout.
The target seemed like a problem on a surface like that and to add to the misery KKR got off to a rocky start as both their openers were dismissed by Mohsin Khan inside the powerplay overs. Things were looking grim for KKR but they never lost hope. In came Nitish Rana who hit a quick 22 balls 42 with 9 fours and made the target a little bit more in reach for his side. Shreyas Iyer too played a Captain’s knock as he hit a half century in just 29 deliveries. Sam Billings 36 from 24 also helped, but all three batsmen were dismissed after some time.
Enter the big man Andre Russell who was expected to be the game changer for KKR but he got packed by Mohsin Khan on a measly 5 from 11. Now the job was laid on Rinku Singh and Sunil Narine to bring KKR home and the duo sure didn’t disappoint. Narine remained unbeaten on 21 from 7 balls while Rinku hit a berserk 40 from 15 balls. 61 were required off 19 and the duo brought it to 21 off the last over. Here is where LSG’s defending skills came into play as Marcus Stoinis who was bowling the last over held his nerve even when 3 were required off 2.
The saying, ‘catches win matches’ could not be more true as a ripper from Evin Lewis sent Rinku and KKR’s hopes back to the dugout. LSG got home by the narrowest of margins and the Man of the Match award went to Quinton de Kock. It will be interesting to see a potential new winner since the year 2016 as all the other teams with multiple titles have been eliminated. This was surely a T20 clash for the ages.
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