Kolkata Knight Riders’ Rinku Singh battled hard but a Nicholas Pooran storm before the choke applied by Lucknow Super Giants’ spinners helped LSG clinch the thriller by one run and make it to the back-to-back playoffs in the Indian Premier League (IPL). 

LSG, defending a par 176/8 at Eden Gardens, mounted a terrific comeback after KKR made a brisk start. Such was the stranglehold by LSG bowlers in the middle overs that even Rinku Singh’s heroic 67 off 33 balls could not take the game away from the Super Giants with 41 required off the last 12 balls.

The win also made sure LSG kept their fate in their hands. The team is placed third with 17 points and will remain there irrespective of the results on Sunday. KKR, meanwhile, failed to progress to the playoffs after ending their campaign at 12 points.

QDK and Mankad negate KKR threats

KKR had their tails up at the start but Quinton de Kock and Prerak Mankad brought some stability to LSG's innings, with the score at 54/1 at the end of the powerplay. QDK scored 28 runs off 27 deliveries while Mankad scored 26 runs off 20 deliveries. Their contributions provided the platform for LSG on a wicket that had plenty for KKR’s mystery spinners.

Pooran’s counter-punch

Attacking is the best form of defence they say. 4,4,6…That’s how Pooran started his innings when LSG were under trouble at 73/5. Pooran played a blinder and put on 30-ball 58. His innings, laced with four 4’s and five maximums, proved pivotal at the end.

He carved Shardul Thakur for two sixes on the off-side on the first two balls of the 19th over but perished on the third ball while trying to inflict the same. A six and a four at the last two balls of the innings by Krishnappa Gowtham helped LSG reach 176/8 in 20 overs.

Spinners puncture KKR run chase

Jason Roy and Venkatesh Iyer put KKR in the driver’s seat. The home side was 59/0 in five overs but Krishnappa Gowtham, on the fifth ball of the sixth over, got Iyer’s wicket to open a window of opportunity for the LSG. 

Ravi Bishnoi dismissed KKR Skipper Nitish Rana for his 100th T20 wicket before Krunal Pandya castled a settled Roy to reduce KKR to 82/3 in 10 overs. 

The stranglehold on the KKR run rate continued as LSG were required to defend 63 off the final five overs. 

Rinku Singh was the lone Knight for KKR but a collective bowling effort, including top-quality stuff from Naveen ul Haq and Yash Thakur, made sure LSG take home the win and the crucial two points.

What next for Lucknow Super Giants?

Super Giants will take all the rest needed before taking on either Mumbai Indians, Royal Challengers Bangalore or Rajasthan Royals in the Eliminator in Chennai on May 24. LSG crashed out at the same stage last year after losing to RCB by 14 runs. The team will look to go the distance this time. 

Lucknow Super Giants - 176/8 (Nicholas Pooran 58, Quinton de Kock 28, Sunil Narine 2/28) beat Kolkata Knight Riders - 175/7 (Rinku Singh 67, Jason Roy 45, Ravi Bishnoi 2/23) by one run.