KKR beat KXIP by close margin of 2 runs in thrilling match


Two-time Indian Premier League (IPL) champions Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) on Saturday pulled off another come-from-behind win as they edged out Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) by two runs in a thrilling finish on Saturday.

The KL Rahul-led KXIP have to blame themselves for the narrow loss as they lost a contest which was completely under their control for almost 18 overs as they chased a 165-run target at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium.

This was Punjab’s sixth defeat from seven games while it was KKR’s fourth win from six games.

Opting to bat, KKR rode blistering half-centuries from Shubhman Gill (57) and skipper Dinesh Karthik (58) along with Eoin Morgan’s 24 to put up a fighting 164/6 in the allotted overs as the other batters failed to click.

Gill’s knock contained five boundaries while Karthik, whose performance was under scanner for consecutive flop shows, smashed eight boundaries and two sixes in the process.

For KXIP, Mohammad Shami, Arshdeep Singh and Ravi Bishnoi settled with a wicket each.

In return, KXIP were off to a decent start as its in-form openers Rahul (74) and Mayank Agarwal (56) added 47 runs in the initial six overs.

The comfortably steered Punjab over the 100-run mark in 12.2 over as Rahul hammered Pat Cummins for a boundary and meanwhile, also notched up his half-century.

Prasidh Krishna drew the first blood as he dismissed a well-settled Agarwal to break the 115-run stand. Agarwal’s knock was decorated with six boundaries and a six.

KXIP lost Nicholas Pooran (16) and Simran Singh (4) in quick succession, thanks to Sunil Narine and Prasidh respectively as Punjab’s scorecard read 149/3 in 18.4 overs.

Prasidh further helped his side to tighten its grip in the match as he accounted for the wicket of Rahul in the penultimate over.

However, Karthik’sploy of promoting Simran above Glenn Maxwell backfired as the latter, failed to help his side cross the line.

With 14 needed of the final over, Narine took charge of the proceedings.

Besides bagging the wicket of Mandeep Singh (0), the Caribbean all-rounder successfully defended the total as Maxwell tried to go for a maximum off the final delivery, which could have tied the contest, but the ball landed inside the boundary and it was declared a four.

For KKR, Prasidh scalped three wickets for 29 runs while Narine bagged two for 28 runs.

Brief scores: KKR 164/6 in 20 overs (Dinesh Karthik 58, Shubman Gill 57; Ravi Bishnoi 1/25) beat KXIP 162/5 in 20 overs (KL Rahul 74, Mayank Agarwal 56; Prasidh Krishna 3/29) by 2 runs

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