Rinku heroics in vain as LSG cruise into playoffs

Indian Premier League 2023

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A crucial counter-attacking knock of 58(30) from Nicholas Pooran helped Lucknow Super Giants qualify for the Play-offs but not before surviving a Rinku Singh scare as they beat Kolkata Knight Riders in a last-over thriller in Match 68 of TATA IPL 2023 at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata.

Pooran’s fighting knock helped LSG recover from 73/5 and propelled them to a competitive 176/8. Ravi Bishnoi then bowled an impressive spell of 2/23 as LSG survived another heroic performance from Rinku Singh (67* off 33) to win the match by one run as Impact Player Yash Thakur defended 21 in the last over.

Chasing 177, KKR were off to a flier as Venkatesh Iyer smashed a couple of fours and a six off Mohsin Khan in the first over. Jason Roy then went after Naveen-ul-Haq and cracked a couple of fours and a cracking straight six to make it 15 again, off the second over. Krunal then brought himself into the attack and bowled a decent over, giving away just six runs. The pair took 9 runs off K Gowtham and Roy then took the attack to Krunal, hitting three fours in a row to make it 14 off the over.

Gowtham finally got LSG the breakthrough as he had Iyer (24 off 15) caught at extra cover as KKR reached 61/1 at the end of the Powerplay. Ravi Bishoni then provided another breakthrough as he had captain Nitish Rana caught at extra cover off a leading edge for his 100th T20 wicket. KKR lost another one in quick succession as Krunal cleaned up Roy (45 off 28) to help the away side claw their way back into the match. KKR bowled with accuracy and discipline and kept things tight. The pressure brought the wicket as Rahmanullah Gurbaz went for a big one but got an outside edge to backward point off Impact Player Yash Thakur where Bishnoi took a juggling catch. Thakur bowled a fantastic over and gave away just three.

Naveen bowled another decent over, giving away just six as the equation came to 63 needed off 30 balls. Russell tried to up the scoring, cracking a straight six off Bishnoi but the LSG spinner bounced back to have Russell’s off stump knocked down off the next ball. It was another very good over for LSG with just seven runs coming off it along with the big wicket of Russell.

With 56 needed off 24, Naveen bowled another good over, conceding just five. Rinku Singh finally released some pressure as he swung one over deep backward square leg for a six. But Yash Thakur bounced back to dismiss Shardul Thakur as he had him caught at deep square leg off a short ball. KKR lost another in the over as Sunil Narine was run out trying to go for a risky second. Yash made an excellent comeback to give away just four more runs apart from that six from Rinku. With 41 needed off 12 balls, Rinku Singh hit three fours in a row, one off the outside edge, one rocketing off the middle through extra cover off Naveen and one slashed over short third man. He then scampered through for a risky two off the next ball to bring the equation down to 27 off 8. He clobbered the next ball over deep square leg for a 110m six to bring up his fifty off just 27 balls. He swung and missed the last one as 20 runs came off the over.

With 21 needed off six, Krunal handed the ball to Impact Player Yash Thakur. Vaibhav Arora bunted the first ball down the ground and gave the strike to Rinku. Yash bowled the next one wide outside off and it was called a WIDE. The next ball was fast and short and Rinku was beaten for pace as the ball flicked his helmet even before he could complete his shot. The next one was in the blockhole and Rinku mistimed his heave to deep mid-wicket. He didn’t take the single. The next one was a WIDE. With 18 needed off 3, Runku Singh smashed it over the deep mid-wicket stands to provide hope of another miracle. With 12 needed off 2, Yash bowled it very full and Rinku crashed it through extra cover only for a four. With 8 needed off 1, Rinku smacked it over long on where the fielder parried it over the ropes for a six as the home side fell agonisingly short by two runs.

Earlier, Kolkata Knight Riders captain Nitish Rana won the toss and elected to bowl. They made one change to the starting XI as Venkatesh Iyer replaced Suyash Sharma. They named Mandeep Singh, Suyash Sharma, Anukul Roy, N Jagadeesan and David Wiese as their substitutes.

Lucknow Super Giants made two changes to the starting eleven as Karan Sharma and K Gowtham replaced Deepak Hooda and Swapnil Singh. Yash Thakur, Daniel Sams, Yudhvir Singh, Deepak Hooda and Kyle Mayers made it to the substitutes list for the away side.

The KKR bowlers started off well and could have had two wickets inside the first two overs but the LSG batters got lucky. Harshit Rana beat Quinton de Kock thrice of the last three balls of the first over off which one was an edge to the keeper which no one noticed. KKR didn’t opt for the review and the South African batter survived with the Ultra Edge replays showing an edge. Karan then survived a run out chance in the next over but his luck didn’t last long as Rana had him caught at short mid-wicket. In between Quinton de Kock provided some momentum with a couple of well-timed sixes.

Prerak Mankad arrived, got a look in and took the aggressive route straightaway as he cracked three fours off Harshit Rana in the fifth over. He then took the attack to Varun Chakaravarthy and hit a couple of fours to take LSG to 54/1 at the end of the Powerplay.

The risk brought rewards but it also brought about Mankad’s downfall as he mistimed his slash off a back of a length delivery from Vaibhav Arora to deep point where Harshit Rana took a good running catch. Arora then produced a lethal bouncer to bounce out the in-form Marcus Stoinis.

KKR kept building the pressure and they were rewarded with another wicket as Sunil Narine had captain Krunal Pandya caught at deep mid-wicket as LSG trudged to 71/4 at the halfway mark.

The away side received a massive blow in the next over as Quinton de Kock(28 off 17) mistimed his heave to deep mid-wicket where Andre Russell pouched a good catch, off Chakaravarthy.

KKR then brought on Suyash Sharma as their Impact Player in place of Harshit Rana in the 11th over.

Nicholas Pooran started off well and then got together to rebuild the innings with the young Ayush Badoni as the pair brought up the 50-run stand from 36 balls. Pooran was the aggressor while Badoni played sensibly and gave his partner as much strike as possible. The pair kept chipping away, hitting an odd boundary an over before Badoni pressed the accelerator button to smack a four and a six off Narine in the 18th over but the wily spinner bounced back to have Badoni caught at deep mid-wicket off the next ball.

Pooran then brought up his fifty in style, off 28 balls, as he thumped a six over deep point off Shardul. He followed by smacking another six by slicing the next one over deep backward point. But as it happened in the Narine over, Shardul bounced back to have Pooran caught at deep backward point. Shardul got another wicket in the over as he cleaned up Bishnoi.

K Gowtham then finished it off well with a six and a four off Russell in the last over as the away side garnered 13 off the over and posted 176/8.

LSG introduced Yash Thakur as their Impact Player in place of Karan Sharma as the start of the second innings.