Andre Russell and Rinku Singh’s heroics help KKR beat PBKS by five wickets
Skipper Nitish Rana scored a half-century, while West Indian middle-order batter Andre Russell and Rinku Singh played some fine strokes at the back end as Kolkata Knight Riders defeated Punjab Kings by five wickets in a last-ball IPL thriller. Chasing 180 for victory, KKR scored 182/5, with Russell playing a pivotal role in the game, hitting three sixes in Sam Curran’s 19th overs to bring his team closer to the target.
Rinku then scored a four off the last ball of the innings to signal KKR’s victory. Earlier, KKR spinner Varun Chakravarthy grabbed three wickets for 26 runs but Punjab Kings still managed a fighting 179/7 with skipper Shikhar Dhawan scoring a half century.
Dhawan (57 off 47 balls) was also involved in a 53-run partnership with wicketkeeper-batter Jitesh Sharma (21) and laid the foundation for later-order batters to set a competitive total.
Rinku Singh wins it for KKR. The side has won the game by 5 wickets. Rinku moved towards the leg side to create room for himself on the final delivery. Arshdeep Singh followed him but with a full toss. The KKR star hit the ball away for a four through the backward sqaure leg region for a four.
Nitish Rana: When I was batting, I wanted to hold one end. Venky had a problem with his ankle so we were trying to get one big over here and there. 10 matches have gone, we were all waiting for that one Russell innings to come. He was one innings away, I kept backing him saying you have done a lot, and you will 100% win us a game. This pitch was a feel of home advantage as well. Our bowlers bowled badly at the death, I was angry that we conceded that many because this was a 160-165 run wicket. (On Rinku) I just keep telling him, believe in yourself because what you have achieved is something not many people ever will. When he was batting, the whole crowd was chanting ‘Rinku, Rinku’. That is what he has earned this year. I’ve been at this franchise for many years now, I’m used to the Eden crowd screaming ‘Russell, Russell’ but to hear them shout ‘Rinku, Rinku’ makes me feel very happy and proud. That’s the respect he has earned this season.
Rinku Singh: I didn’t think about the last ball. Even when I hit those five sixes, I hadn’t thought much. I was playing on the merit of the ball. I had the belief in me that I could finish the game. I have got used to it, sometimes I bat at 5, sometimes at 6, 7, I practice that way. There is no particular way I like to celebrate.
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