Kolkata Knight Riders won a match after almost throwing it away to climb to the top of the table of the Indian Premier League yesterday.
The two-time IPL champions edged past IPL first-timers Rising Pune Supergiants by two wickets
for their fourth win in five matches this season.
Before yesterday’s game in Pune, Kolkata had won three games out of three while bowling first. The trend continued as they chased again and won to top the table in a tournament where chasing teams have now won 17 out of 20 matches.
Chasing a target of 161—the Supergiants had posted 160 for five in their 20 overs after being sent in—Kolkata were coasting at 111 for 3 before they slumped dramatically, losing five wickets in 30 balls, and only sealed victory when Umesh Yadav struck a huge six with five runs needed off the last four balls. The innings was earlier marshalled by Surya Kumar Yadav who scored a composed 60 off 49 balls.
Earlier, opening batsman Ajinkya Rahane top-scored with 67 to help Pune post a competitive total which they almost managed to defend.
Pune got off to a relatively rocky start, losing Faf du Plessis off the final delivery of the fourth over with the score on 24. A ripping delivery from left-arm spinner Shakib Al Hasan shot past the outside edge of Du Plessis’ bat to disturb the timber.
Rahane and Australian skipper Steve Smith steadied the ship with a 56-run stand for the second wicket. Smith was run out for 31 off 28 balls in the 13th over and at 80-2, Pune seemed set to go for the big shots in the later overs.
Thisara Perera launched one six before Rajagopal Sathish foxed him with a slightly slower delivery. At 99-5 with five overs left, the Supergiants needed to step on the gas. Rahane, meanwhile, started hitting his straps as he got past fifty and took Pune towards a competitive score. However, Sunil Narine had Rahane caught and bowled off the first ball of the 17th over as the opener departed for a fine 67 off 52 balls.
Albie Morkel made his impact felt as he smashed consecutive maximums off Narine in the same over, before he chopped on an Umesh Yadav delivery off the first ball of the following over.
The final over changed the momentum as Pune skipper MS Dhoni turned it on in typical fashion. The skipper took 17 off the final over from Morne Morkel, smashing two fours and a maximum to finish unbeaten on 23 off 12 balls.
Yadav was adjudged the Man of the Match. “I was told by my captain that I have to express myself. Carrying my form from the last game. I could not finish the game but feel happy that it came in a winning cause. The first eight overs would have been crucial because later it was difficult for the batsmen to capitalise. Winning against this challenging side on this wicket, it shows good signs for the later challenges,” said Yadav.
Rising Pune Supergiants 160 for 5 in 20 overs (A Rahane 67, S Smith 31, MS Dhoni 23*) lost to Kolkata Knight Riders 162/8 in 19.3 overs (S Yadav 60, Y Pathan 36; A Morkel 2/36, R Bhatia 2/19, T Perera 2/28) by two wickets
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