Sporting green-and-maroon, Lucknow Super Giants paid a fitting tribute to ISL champion Mohun Bagan by recording a thrilling one-run win over Kolkata Knight Riders and qualifying for the IPL 2023 Playoffs with 17 points at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Saturday.
Inserted, LSG rode on Nicholas Pooran’s clinical half-century to post a challenging 176 for eight and then benefitted from its spinners’ parsimonious performance to stop the KKR at 175 for seven even as Rinku Singh’s heroic knock went in vain.
KKR pacers Harshit Rana and Vaibhav Arora hit good areas to keep LSG in check. But Prerak Mankad helped LSG gather 54 for one in the Powerplay.
The script changed as Vaibhav, switching ends, scalped Mankad and the dangerous Marcus Stonis, who gloved a rising delivery, in the seventh over.
Captain Nitish Rana used his resources well to make further inroads.
Sunil Narine dismissed Krunal Pandya and Varun Chakaravarthy claimed an off-colour Quinton De Kock in consecutive overs to put LSG in trouble at 73 for five.
However, Pooran (58, 30b, 4x4, 5x6) got good support from Ayush Badoni, who held one end before flexing his muscles. The duo added 74 runs in 47 balls to revive LSG’s innings.
Displaying his clean hits, Pooran impressed with his two straight sixes off Varun as much he entertained by plundering two successive sixes over point before being held at third-man in the penultimate over bowled by Shardul Thakur.
LSG gathered 54 in the last four to make KKR’s chase harder.
In reply, openers Venkatesh Iyer and Jason Roy (45, 28b, 7x4, 1x6) made a brisk start. KKR, facing the improbable task of overhauling the target in 8.5 overs to qualify, scored 61 for one in the Powerplay.
LSG spinners, who shared four wickets, utilised the turn on offer to apply brakes on KKR.
K. Gowtham took Venkatesh’s wicket, Ravi Bishnoi accounted for Nitish and Krunal bowled Roy to put the host under pressure.
Bishnoi and Yash Thakur captured two wickets apiece but Rinku (67 n.o., 33b, 6x4, 4x6) played another spectacular stroke-filled innings to take it agonizingly close.
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