Kolkata Knight Riders bowler Sunil Narine celebrates with teammates after the wicket of Lucknow Super Giants batter Krunal Pandya during the IPL 2023 cricket match between Kolkata Knight Riders and Lucknow Super Giants | Photo: PTI
Kolkata: Nicholas Pooran held the innings together with a counter-attacking fifty to propel Lucknow Super Giants to a fighting 176 for eight against Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League here on Saturday
Pooran (58 off 30 balls) rebuilt the innings after LSG were precariously placed at 73/5 with all their top batters, including the in-form duo of Marcus Stoinis (0) and Krunal Pandya (9), getting out cheaply.
Put into bat, LSG struggled to break free early on with rookie new ball bowler duo of Vaibhav Arora (2/30) and Harshit Rana (1/21 from three overs) setting the pace beautifully before spinners got into the act.
Old warhorse Sunil Narine (2/28) and Varun Chakravarthy (1/38) removed Krunal and Quinton de Kock (28) in successive overs to bring cheer to the KKR camp.
But, Pooran produced his counter-attacking display and smashed Chakravarthy for two fours and a six to start the recovery act.
Overall, Pooran slammed fives sixes and four boundaries in a 74-run (47 balls) partnership with Ayush Badoni (25).
In their must-win match, KKR bowlers made all the difference, bowling 49 dot balls which is equivalent to 8.1 overs.
The KKR new ball bowlers set the tempo early on with Harshit Rana giving away just one run in the opening over and returned in his next over to dismiss Karan Sharma inside the powerplay.
De Kock and Mankad, however, managed to keep the run-rate up with 54/1 in the powerplay, taking on Chakravarthy, KKR's best spinner this season.
Just when LSG looked to have found their feet on a dry Eden surface, Arora's twin blow in the seventh over pushed the visitors further.
While Mankad (26) got out trying to go aerial, the LSG's crisis man Marcus Stoinis got an unplayable delivery to be out for a two-ball duck.
Arora got the short ball rise awkwardly and Stoinis had no answer and got his glove to be caught at the slip.
At 55/3 in 6.5 overs, LSG had the duo of De Kock and skipper Krunal Pandya to repair the damage but the experienced duo showed little application and got out in successive overs, playing reckless shots.
Narine got Krunal in his first over, while Chakravarthy dismissed the well-set De Kock who played an atrocious slog sweep.