ABU DHABI: Kolkata Knight Riders pulled off a sensational two-run win against scrappy Kings XI Punjab in the Indian Premier League on Saturday.
Needing six runs to tie the scores off Sunil Narine’s last ball, Glenn Maxwell’s hit over the covers landed just inside the boundary as Punjab fell two runs short at 162-5.
Kolkata had earlier recovered well from a slow start through captain Dinesh Karthik’s flashy 29-ball knock of 58 runs to post 164-6.
Punjab were cruising at 136-1, needing just 29 runs off the last four overs. But Kolkata stormed back as fast bowler Prasidh Krishna took 3-29 and Narine 2-28 to hand Punjab its fifth consecutive loss.
“Prasidh is special, the way he came back and bowled in the second spell shows how good he is,” said Karthik, who won the toss and opted to bat first.
“Sunil Narine stands up for us a lot of the time. He is calm, he is always looking to find the best way to contribute to the team.”
Halfway through the league stage, Punjab has only a solitary victory from seven games and is at the bottom of the table. Kolkata is in the upper half.
Captain Lokesh Rahul and Mayank Agarwal, who made 56, gave Punjab a solid start of 114 runs but once Krishna provided the opening in the 15th over by dismissing Agarwal, Punjab’s brittle top-order batting lineup yet again slipped against some quality bowling.
Krishna took the game away from Punjab in the 19th over by claiming two wickets, including the crucial dismissal of Rahul, who top-scored with 74 off 58 balls after getting dropped in only the second over by Andre Russell.
“I have no answers, we just need to keep coming harder in the next seven games,” said Rahul, who has been the lone batting star for Punjab with three half-centuries and a century.
“I don’t think we were satisfied at any stage in the chase. You are satisfied only when you win the game. Toward the end, we kept losing wickets, and couldn’t get us over the line.”
Kolkata struggled to be 60-2 after 10 overs before Karthik ensured he had enough runs on the board to defend by hitting eight fours and two sixes.
Karthik dominated the 82-run, fourth-wicket stand with Shubman Gill, who made a defiant 57 off 47 balls before both were run out in the death overs.