Sunil Narine took two critical wickets, including one in the final over as Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) held their nerve for the second time in a row and beat Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) by just two runs in their Indian Premier League match in Abu Dhabi yesterday.
Chasing 165, KXIP motored to 144 for one in the 17th over before Narine dismissed fellow-Trinidadian Nicholas Pooran and then delivered a stifling final six balls to earn his team victory.
Earlier, half-centuries by skipper Dinesh Karthik and opener Shubman Gill had seen KKR to 164-6 in their 20 overs.
After opting to bat, KKR recovered from 14-2 thanks to a third-wicket stand of 49 between Gill and Eoin Morgan. After the England T20 captain holed out for 24, Karthik joined Gill and they added 82 in seven overs.
Karthik creamed a six in the 14th over to take KKR past 90 while Gill brought up his fifty in the next as KKR moved past the hundred mark.
The two upped the ante as KKR crossed 130-run mark, but the partnership ended when Gill was run out for a 47-ball 57. KKR added 18 runs in the last two overs before Karthik was also run out, off the final ball of the innings, for a hand of 58 that came off just 29 deliveries.
In the chase, KL Rahul got an early life as Andre Russell could not hold onto a running catch and injured himself in the attempt.
Mayank Agarwal then creamed two fours and a six in one over off Prasidh Krishn and KXIP brought up their fifty in the seventh over.
He and skipper Rahul continued their march without any hint of trouble and the opening partnership realised 115 in 14.2 overs before Mayank fell for 59.
There was no-let up as the in-form Pooran joined Rahul and struck two fours and a six to take Kings XI within 21 of victory. But Narine caused King’s XI nerves to jangle as Pooran went for a big heave and was bowled for 16 in the 18th over.
KXIP needed 20 off the last two overs but Prasidh Krishna gave away only six runs and picked two wickets, including the prized scalp of Rahul for 74.
Requiring 14 off the final over, KXIP could only score two off the first two balls from Narine, Glenn Maxwell hit a four off the third to bring down the target to eight from three. Narine conceded a run and then had Mandeep Singh caught off a slower delivery. And needing six off the last ball to force a Super Over, Maxwell’s hit over extra-cover landed mere inches inside the boundary, giving KKR a narrow victory that left Kings XI at the bottom of the IPL standings with a single win in six matches.
Kolkata Knight Riders 164-6 (D Karthik 58, S Gill 57; A Singh 1/25)
Kings XI Punjab 162-5 (KL Rahul 74, M Agarwal 59; P Krishna 3/29, S Narine 2/28)
Kolkata Knight Riders won by two runs.