Lucknow Super Giants opener Quinton de Kock climbed into the Kolkata Knight Riders bowlers in the IPL on Wednesday.
De Kock smashed an unbeaten 140 off 70 balls in Mumbai and was well supported by captain KL Rahul (68* off 51) as Lucknow posted 210-0 – the IPL’s highest-ever opening stand – in their 20 overs.
The Proteas batsman’s second IPL century included 10 fours and 10 sixes.
Kolkata’s Rinku Singh nearly pulled off a stunning victory with his 15-ball 40 but his departure on the penultimate ball had the Knight Riders finish on 208-8 and bow out of the final-four race.
The two-run win sealed a playoff spot for Lucknow.
De Kock was unforgiving on the Kolkata bowlers as he smashed New Zealand quick Tim Southee for four sixes in a 27-run 19th over and then hit Andre Russell for four fours in the 20th.
The South African, who survived a missed catch on 12, dropped to the ground in an emotional celebration when reaching his hundred.
De Kock and Rahul surpassed the previous best first-innings partnership of 185 between Jonny Bairstow and David Warner for the Sunrisers Hyderabad in 2019.
It’s the third-best partnership for any wicket after two top stands by Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers of 229 (2016) and an unbeaten 215 (2015) – both for the second wicket for the Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Two-time champions Kolkata lost openers Venkatesh Iyer, caught behind for nought with De Kock taking a superb diving catch, and Abhijeet Tomar, for four, to left-arm fast bowler Mohsin Khan who returned figures of 3-20.
Kolkata lost wickets and hope after contributions by Nitish Rana, who made a 22-ball 42, skipper Shreyas Iyer, who fell for 50 off 29 balls and Sam Billings’ 36.
But Singh and Sunil Narine, who made a seven-ball 21, took Lucknow by surprise with a partnership of 58 off 19 balls.
Marcus Stoinis defended 21 off the final over despite Singh’s four and two sixes to start, but he fell to a stunning one-handed catch by Evin Lewis as the fielder came running from deep backward point.
Stoinis then bowled Umesh Yadav on the final ball to trigger wild celebrations in the Lucknow camp.