Match 68, Indian Premier League, 2023 Eden Gardens, Kolkata
Toss won by Kolkata Knight Riders (Match Ended)
- Batsman R B 4s 6s SR
- Rinku Singh 67 33 6 4 203.03
- Vaibhav Arora 1 1 0 0 100
Nicholas Pooran is the Player of the Match for his brilliant knock of 58 runs from 30 balls. He says that he knew he had to take the game as deep as possible. Adds that he knew that he would get some bad balls and it is a small venue so he wanted to capitalize. Claims that he has been batting pretty decently through the tournament and feels that he needed to take his opportunity. Mentions that the team has invested heavily in him and he wanted to repay them the best way he could. Informs that Ayush Badoni and he had the same kind of partnership before and they decided to take it deep. Adds that they were looking to get to 190 but fell short. Ends by saying that it is nice to win the last two games and more importantly it is their bowlers who are standing up to the challenge.
Krunal Pandya, the captain of Lucknow, says that he is satisfied with the win and the playoffs qualification. Mentions that the team never gave up despite being put under pressure and is really proud of the boys. Shares that when Kolkata were 61-1, he felt 2-3 tight overs can change the game. Reckons that there was a lot of help for the spinners and the plan was to bowl in the right areas and bowl dots. Mentions that Rinku Singh has been special and adds that you can never take it easy against him. On choosing Yash Thakur for the final over, he says he goes with his gut instincts. Adds that in the last game, he went with Mohsin Khan because there was reverse swing on offer. Ends by saying that Yash Thakur was bowling well and it paid off.
Time for the presentations...
One of the stars of Lucknow's win, Ravi Bishnoi is in for a chat. He says that it feels good to win and such wins boost the team's morale. Adds that he is happy that they have qualified. On Rinku Singh's innings, he says that it was unbelievable and adds that he was threatening to take the game away from them. Mentions that the ball was gripping on the surface and the plan was to bowl in good areas. Shares that his plan was to bowl wicket to wicket and look for wickets or dot balls. Ends by saying that they have fought hard in the last couple of games and will look to do the same in the playoffs and try to win the trophy.
Nitish Rana the skipper of Kolkata, starts by saying that the result was not in their favour and adds that there have been many positives throughout the season. Feels that they have many areas to improve and hopes to return as a better team in the next season. Reckons that if you have to finish in the top four in the Indian T20 League, you have to do well in all 3 departments. Mentions that it is important to win back-to-back close games and feels that they had the capability to finish in the top four. On Rinku Singh, he says that he is very happy for him and knows how hard he has worked. Adds that he is very close to him and feels that if he can bat like this, he can do anything.
Time for some interviews...
Lucknow used their sixth opening pair in this edition when they were asked to bat first after losing the toss but Karan Sharma could not make much of an impact. A 41-run partnership between Quinton de Kock and Prerak Mankad gave them a good start but they lost wickets in quick succession and had 73 runs on the board with half their side back in the shed. Ayush Badoni and Nicholas Pooran began building a partnership and put on 74 runs together in 47 deliveries with the latter reaching his half-century. Sunil Narine, Shardul Thakur, and Vaibhav Arora claimed two wickets each for the hosts with Harshit Rana and Varun Chakaravarthy chipping in with one but they would have liked to restrict their opponents to 10-15 runs lesser.
By the end of the Powerplay, it seemed to be like Lucknow were well-behind in the game. Their new ball bowlers could not get them an early breakthrough and it was Krishnappa Gowtham who drew first blood in the sixth over of the inning. Ravi Bishnoi sent the Kolkata skipper packing as he was the pick of the bowlers with two wickets while conceding just 23 runs in his four overs. Krunal Pandya claimed a crucial wicket on the last ball of his spell and was economical as well. Yash Thakur proved to be a good choice as an Impact Player as he claimed two important wickets but along with Naveen-ul-Haq took quite a pounding from Rinku Singh. They will want to improve their bowling in the Powerplay and the death overs if they want to go deep in the qualifying stage.
The hosts came out all guns blazing as they looked to make a mockery of the run chase. They scored 61 runs in Powerplay with Venkatesh Iyer the only causality after getting off to a good start. Nitish Rana could not get going having promoted himself to number 3 but Jason Roy had no trouble keeping the scoreboard ticking as he made 45 in 28 balls. After the two of them were dismissed Rahmanullah Gurbaz struggled at the wicket as he ate up deliveries and allowed the required rate to rise again. Andre Russell’s disappointing campaign continued and Shardul Thakur could not make an impact with the bat this time. Rinku Singh had the crowd believing right till the end getting to his highest score in the Indian T20 League accumulating 67 runs in 33 balls but his efforts were in vain.
Rinku Singh is turning out to be quite a player! The southpaw kept this game alive right till the end but once again his side left him with too much to do and he was unable to get them over the finish line by the closest of margins. Lucknow have sealed an important win that confirms their place in the playoffs in third place and there is now just one spot up for grabs on the final day of the group stages. Kolkata could not end this tournament on a high and will want to come back strong in the next season.
SIX! Just over! Yash Thakur bowls a low full toss and outside off, Rinku Singh walks across and powers it towards long on. Ravi Bishnoi leaps near the ropes but the ball eludes him and crosses the fence. Lucknow win by 1 run and have secured a place in the playoffs!
Right then that is all we have from the coverage of this game. Lucknow have become the third team to qualify for the playoffs with this close win. The final spot is up for grabs when the action continues in the 16th edition of the Indian T20 League on Sunday 21st May as we have yet another doubleheader in store for us and it will be the final two games of the group stages. First, Mumbai take on Hyderabad at the Wankhede Stadium in the coastal city and that game will begin at 3.30 pm IST (10 am GMT). This will be followed by a clash between Bangalore and Gujarat at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru at 7.30 pm IST (2 pm GMT). The build-up for both of these games will begin well in advance so do join us for that. Until then, goodbye and cheers!