The rain came in as an uninvited guest, killed a gripping contest and handed host Punjab Kings a seven-run win (DLS method) over Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL match at the I.S.Bindra Stadium here on Saturday.
Chasing 192, Knight Riders clawed back into the game and launch a final assault on the target when heavy rain stopped play at the end of the 16th over. Knight Riders, which was 146 for seven at the time of stoppage, was below the DLS par score by seven runs.
After Arshdeep Singh’s early blows, Andre Russell (35) and impact player Venkatesh Iyer (34) revived the chase with a quickfire fifty-run stand for the sixth wicket.
But the loss of both the batters in quick succession ended Knight Riders’ hope. In hindsight, the 23-minute delay at the start of Knight Riders’ innings due to the malfunctioning of light towers hurt Knight Riders.
Earlier, put in to bat, Punjab Kings got off to a rollicking start with opener Prabhsimran Singh setting the early pace with a nonchalant flick over square leg for six off Umesh Yadav.
Tim Southee’s erring line was also punished as Prabhsimran clattered a couple of boundaries and smashed a six before edging a catch to wicketkeeper Rahmanullah Gurbaz in the same over.
Bhanuka Rajapaksa continued the carnage and he stepped out thrice to loft Sunil Narine for a couple of boundaries and a six in the leg spinner’s first over in the PowerPlay.
While Shikar Dhawan dropped anchor, Bhanuka attacked the bowling and Shardul Thakur bore the brunt of his forcing strokes. The Sri Lankan batter completed his 50 off 30 balls before holing out to long-on off Umesh Yadav.
Varun Chakravarthy’s strangulating spell in the second half of the innings during which he cleaned up Dhawan (40) slowed down the scoring. But a late flourish from Sam Curran (21 not out) and Shahrukh Khan (11 not out) saw Punjab finish with a challenging total.
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