KKR go down to CSK in last-ball thriller

At times, things just don’t go your way; and some other times, they do go your way briefly to only slip away near the finishing line. Kolkata Knight Riders crawled back into the game after a below-par first half with the ball to almost pull off a coup with a late surge. But it wasn’t meant to be as the final two overs saw CSK score 30 runs to seal a 6-wicket victory over KKR in the last ball of Match 49 in Dream XI IPL 2020 at Dubai.

With this loss, KKR’s chances of making to the play-offs now hang by a thread as the outcome of Friday’s match between Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals may play a decisive factor. KXIP currently have 12 points from 12 matches whereas KKR have same number of points from 13 matches. If KXIP win tomorrow, KKR will be virtually out of the play-off race due to poor net run rate. Not only this, the Knights have one more sword precariously dangling over the head – Sunrisers Hyderabad! They have 10 points from 12 games and have a very strong net run rate. SRH next face Royal Challengers Bangalore on Saturday and KKR will pray for some good news to stop them from taking over.

The Knights have often turned a match on its head by some clinical death bowling. However, Thursday was not the day when the bowlers could bring home the laurels. Batting first, KKR set a defendable total of 173, courtesy an explosive knock from Nitish Rana (86 off 61). Rana, in particular, was merciless against Karn Sharma in his last over where he was taken to the cleaners with three consecutive sixes. Rana and Shubman Gill (26 off 17) started off strongly but KKR again experienced a middle-order disappointment. Sunil Narine (7), Rinku Singh (11) and Eoin Morgan (15) fell after getting starts. It was Dinesh Karthik who took the onus of scoring quick runs in the death overs and remained unbeaten on 21 runs (10 balls).

The 172-run total didn’t look that bad at all, given the kind of bowling performances KKR have come up with in the recent past. However, the target started looking gettable soon as CSK continued to build strong partnerships. The match tilted in CSK’s favour until the last six overs where CSK started losing their grip following three quick blows. From 118/1 to 140/4 may not look alarming on paper but the wickets of the well-set Ambati Rayudu (38 off 28) and Ruturaj Gaikwad (72 off 53) exposed CSK to unwarranted pressure in the end.

KKR looked all prepped up to defend 30 runs in the last 2 overs. However, Lockie Ferguson failed to execute his yorkers in the penultimate over and ended up giving away 20 runs off it. Kamlesh Nagarkoti tried all he could to keep his nerves under check in the final over, but eventually defending 10 runs off it looked too daunting a task in front of Ravindra Jadeja (11-ball 31*) who was in his absolute ravaging best last night.

Kolkata Knight Riders will play their last group match against Rajasthan Royals on November 1 in Dubai.