Lucknow pulls off 2-run win in IPL to eliminate Kolkata


Mumbai: Lucknow Super Giants pulled off a sensational two-run victory and eliminated Kolkata Knight Riders from the Indian Premier League on Wednesday.

Kolkata was in sight to chase down its highest ever score in the IPL before getting restricted at 208-8 with Marcus Stoinis picking up two wickets off the last two balls.

Quinton de Kock’s masterful 140 off 70 balls was ably supported by Lucknow skipper Lokesh Rahul’s 68 as the pair shared the IPL’s highest ever opening wicket stand and took their team to a formidable total of 210-0.

“I was a little bit cooked, but I had to get out there and get on with the job,” de Kock said after hitting 10 sixes and 10 fours in his superb innings.

The victory sealed Lucknow’s place in the playoffs with 18 points while Kolkata went out of the tournament with 12 points from its 14 league games.

Fast bowler Mohsin Khan (3-20) faded Kolkata’s hopes in the 17th over when Andre Russell was caught in the deep with the total at 150-6.

But left-handed Rinku Singh, who smashed 40 off 15 balls, and Sunil Narine (21) turned the game on its head by bringing down the target to 21 off Stoinis’ last over.

Singh’s followed his first ball boundary with two big sixes against the Australian fast bowler before running hard for two runs to bring down the equation to three off the last two balls.

But West Indian Ewin Lewis grabbed a stunning left-handed sliding catch to dismiss Singh off the fifth ball and Umesh Yadav was clean bowled off a yorker to the delight of the Lucknow dug-out.

“I thought Stoinis would defend it easily, but after the third (ball) I thought the game is done. But Evin proved catches win matches,” de Kock said.

De Kock capitalized on two dropped catches to score his first IPL century since 2016 and dominated the spin threat of Narine in the middle overs before attacking fast bowlers Tim Southee and Russell in the death overs. Southee and Russell both conceded 102 runs, bowling seven overs in between them.

The left-handed de Kock should have been dismissed on 12 but Abhijeet Tomar dropped a sitter at third man in his debut IPL game before Sam Billings couldn’t hold onto a sharp edge when the batter was on 68.

De Kock completed his half century off 36 balls before raising his 100 off 59 balls with a square cut to point boundary against Russell.

Rahul took the backstage in the death overs once completing his half century off 41 balls as de Kock smashed three straight sixes against Southee in the penultimate over and then Russell was whacked for four consecutive boundaries in the last over.

Despite the defeat, Kolkata skipper Shreyas Iyer felt his team showed a lot of character and attitude in its last IPL game this season.

“I’m not feeling sad at all because that was one of the best games of cricket I’ve ever played to be honest,” Shreyas said. “I love the way Rinku got us to the end … he was really sad. I was hoping that he could finish the game for us. He could have been the hero. Still, he played a fantastic knock and I’m really happy for him.”

AP

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