In yesterday’s match at Eden Gardens in Kolkata, the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) defeated the Punjab Kings (PBKS) by five wickets in the 2023 Indian Premier League (IPL). After winning the toss, Punjab batted first and put up a score of 179/7 on the board, with skipper Shikhar Dhawan top-scoring with 57 off 47 balls.
In response, KKR’s captain Nitish Rana (51 off 38) contributed a half-century. Andre Russell (42 off 23) and Rinku Singh (21* off 10) then added 54 for the fifth wicket. Rinku hit the winning runs, clubbing a high full-toss from Arshdeep Singh to the boundary, piercing the gap on the leg-side. KKR had a decent start, reaching 38 in the fifth over. However, the opening stand ended when Rahmanullah Gurbaz (15) was trapped by a Nathan Ellis slower ball that beat the batter’s flick. Jason Roy (38 off 24) looked in good touch again before sweeping a delivery from Harpreet Brar towards deep midwicket. PBKS stayed in the hunt as Venkatesh Iyer (11 off 13) miscued a googly off Rahul Chahar to long-off. Rana completed a well-deserved fifty but fell immediately afterwards, mistiming a switch-hit off Chahar. The equation came down to 26 off 12 balls, but Russell used his muscle to clobber Sam Curran for three sixes. He was run out off the penultimate delivery, with KKR still needing two. The calm head of Rinku then lifted the team over the line.
Bowling first after losing the toss, Kolkata did a good job of holding Punjab to 179/7. Leggie Varun Chakaravarthy yet again stood out with figures of 3/26. PBKS got off to an attractive start as Prabhsimran Singh smacked Vaibhav Arora for three fours in the first over. Dhawan then hit two boundaries in the second over bowled by Harshit Rana. The latter, however, hit back by having Prabhsimran (12) caught behind. The Punjab opener tried to smack a ball on the leg-side but got a top-edge, which was caught by keeper Gurbaz on the second attempt. Bhanuka Rajapaksa fell without scoring in Harshit’s next over, with Gurbaz completing a straightforward catch this time behind the wickets. Liam Livingstone struck Russell for three consecutive fours in the fifth over, which went for 19. The aggressive batter’s stay was short-lived, though. He was trapped lbw by a leg-break from Chakaravarthy for 15 off 9 balls. Jitesh Sharma chipped in with 21 off 18, but he too nicked one from Chakaravarthy. Dhawan, who was anchoring the Punjab innings, reached his fifty by sweeping Sunil Narine for a maximum. The PBKS skipper perished soon after, though, miscuing his opposite number Rana to long-on. Rishi Dhawan (19 off 11), Shahrukh Khan (21* off 8) and Harpreet Brar (17*off 9) then combined to lift the team to a competitive score.
Russell was named the Player of the Match for his game-defining knock. Chakaravarthy, yet again, stood out for KKR with the ball. His three-fer stopped Punjab from reaching a match-winning score. Rana played a captain’s knock, contributing a half-century, while Rinku yet again put the finishing touches. For PBKS, Dhawan scored a defiant fifty. With the ball, leggie Chahar impressed with figures of 2/23.
In conclusion, it was a thrilling match that saw both teams put up a good fight. KKR’s strong batting lineup and Chakaravarthy’s impressive bowling ensured their victory. Punjab Kings, on the other hand, will need to work on their bowling and fielding if they want to bounce back in the tournament.