Thursday, July 25, 2024

Rain scuttles Knight Riders’ chase, swings it Punjab Kings’ way

Taking wing: Man-of-the-Match Arshdeep Singh bowled a fine spell to keep the Knight Riders in check.

Taking wing: Man-of-the-Match Arshdeep Singh bowled a fine spell to keep the Knight Riders in check.
| Photo Credit: R. V. Moorthy

The rain came as an uninvited guest, killed a gripping contest and handed host Punjab Kings a seven-run win (DRS method) over Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League at the I.S. Bindra Stadium here on Saturday.

Chasing 192, Knight Riders had clawed back to launch a final assault on the target when heavy rain stopped play at the end of the 16th over. Knight Riders, who were 146 for seven at the time of stoppage, was behind the DLS par score by seven runs.

Early blows

After Arshdeep Singh dealt early blows, Andre Russell (35) and Impact Player Venkatesh Iyer (34) revived a hopeless chase with a quickfire stand of 50 runs for the sixth wicket But the loss of both the batters in quick succession put paid to Knight Riders’ hopes.

In hindsight, the 23-minute delay due to the malfunctioning of light towers at the start hurt Knight Riders’ chase.

Earlier, put in, Punjab Kings got off to a rollicking start with opener Prabhsimran Singh setting the early pace with a nonchalant flick over square-leg for six off Umesh Yadav. Tim Southee’s erring line was also punished as Prabhsimran clattered a couple of boundaries and hoisted a six before edging a catch to wicketkeeper Rahmanullah Gurbaz in the same over.

Smart cookie: Bhanuka Rajapaksa mixed aggression with finesse in his 32-ball 50.

Smart cookie: Bhanuka Rajapaksa mixed aggression with finesse in his 32-ball 50.
| Photo Credit:
R.V. Moorthy

Bhanuka Rajapaksa continued the carnage, stepping out thrice to loft Sunil Narine for two boundaries and a six in the leg-spinner’s first over in the PowerPlay. While Shikar Dhawan dropped anchor, Bhanuka attacked the bowling and Shardul Thakur bore the brunt of his forcing strokes.

The Sri Lankan completed his 50 off 30 balls before holing out to long-on off Umesh Yadav.

Late flourish

Varun Chakravarthy’s strangulating spell in the second half of the innings, during which he cleaned up Dhawan (40), slowed down the scoring. But a late flourish from Sam Curran (21 not out) and Shahrukh Khan (11 not out) saw Kings finish with what proved a match-winning total.

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