The Kings XI Punjab pulled off an unlikely 14-run victory against the Kolkata Knight Riders to give themselves a chance of making the playoffs.
With Chris Lynn in full flight for KKR, it looked like the competition’s best chasers were set for another victory, which would all but seal their spot in the top-two qualifier and knock out Kings XI Punjab. Instead, some superb death bowling has kept Glenn Maxwell’s side afloat by the skin of their teeth.
The Knight Riders had the chance to move into top spot with a victory in Mohali, and they’ve chased far more daunting targets than 167-6 in this tournament, but that proved enough for a side that still need to win their remaining two matches and hope that results go their way elsewhere.
Maxwell and Wriddhiman Saha were the outstanding performers with the bat for Kings XI, as their 71-run stand took their side from an ominous 56-3 to 127-3 in just seven overs. Maxwell scored 44 off 25, which included four sixes, while Saha scored a 33-ball 38.
Outside of that partnership, the hosts were constantly kept in check, as their overseas players Sunil Narine (1-27) and Chris Woakes (2-20) performed well to restrict their opponents to 167-6.
The chase got off to a typically blistering start as Sunil Narine, who smashed the joint-quickest IPL fifty off 15 balls two days ago, hit four fours in the first three overs, before departing for 18 off 10.
Lynn, who contributed to KKR’s record 110 in the power play overs in that match against the Royal Challengers Bangalore, proved to be in a devastating mood once again.
The problem for Lynn was that no one stayed at the crease long enough to build a decent partnership. Rahul Tewatia made it a debut to remember by accounting for Gautam Gambhir (8) and Robin Uthappa (0) in the space of three balls, to finish with figures of 2-18. Manish Pandey’s 18 then came off a costly 23 balls.
The only man who could get them over the line was Lynn, who scored 84 off just 52 deliveries. He was run out the very next ball after Pandey was dismissed in the 18th over however, to hand Kings XI the advantage.
The 16th, 17th and 18th overs saw just 21 runs scored, with Mohit Sharma (2-24) the stand-out in that spell, to eventually leave 20 runs needed off the final over. It was simply too much for KKR, to suffer their fifth defeat of the campaign.
Photo: Shaun Roy/Cricinfo/IPL