new delhi, may 9 (ians) Kolkata Knight Riders kept their play-off chances alive as they walked out of the Eden Gardens with a IPL 2023 win over the Punjab Kings by 5 wickets.
Batting first, the Kings set a target of 180 runs, led by a 57-run performance by captain Shikhar Dhawan. Chasing, the KKR captain too top scored for his team as Nitish Rana hit 51 runs off just 38 deliveries.
Rana got out in the 16th over but the KKR finishers Andre Russell and Rinku Singh made them win the thriller that stretched to the last ball. This win helps Kolkata rise to 5th on the table, proving they’re still in the fight for a playoff berth while Punjab falls to 7th place with the same win-loss record but a worse run rate.
Andre Russell had an impactful 42-run performance in the latter half of the game, hitting three sixes in four balls against Sam Curran in the 19th over of the match. He was awarded the Player of the Match for his efforts.
Russell’s massive scoring outburst led to JioCinema IPL expert Graeme Swann complimenting his efforts on the night.
“It’s the start of his innings, he always comes out with pressure on him. He’s going to get a short delivery and he doesn’t like short balls early on. If he gets in and gets past the first three balls, he’s normally alright. When he gets going, that ground is simply too small for him and we saw that tonight.”
Rinku Singh was the match-winner for KKR on the night, expertly reaching the target despite impressive bowling from Arshdeep Singh in the final over.
He ended the match with 21 runs off just 10 balls as Parthiv Patel hailed his ability to perform under pressure.
“He has a massive responsibility. Performing under pressure is very important. As a player, it shows the way you think and what your mindset is. We’ve seen the skill Rinku Singh has when he hit those five sixes in an over but today, it was more challenging. He saw Andre Russell take a run on the bye because he would’ve thought to keep a player like Russell on the strike. The way Rinku Singh took the game to the last ball despite Arshdeep (Singh) bowling well. The way Rinku Singh is batting and finishing games is a massive talking point. He was not out today as well and him winning them the game is a massive plus point for any player.”
JioCinema IPL expert Brett Lee forecasts a bright future for Singh, pegging him to evolve into becoming a household name in Indian cricket.
“He’s given them every reason to fall in love with Rinku Singh. He’s a match-winner, he’s an entertainer, he goes out there and he wins. It’s exciting to see a young player coming through doing that. He’s going to become a household name and is playing some decent cricket.”