In yet another game that went down to the absolute wire, a late Rinku Singh onslaught almost saw the Knights home, as they fell short by a solitary run against the Lucknow Super Giants.
Winning the toss and choosing to bowl first, the Knights had LSG reeling at 73/5 in the 11th over before Nicolas Pooran’s 50 took them to a competitive score of 176/8. Young pacers Harshit Rana and Vaibhav Arora were impressive once again, not allowing LSG to score freely early on and picking up wickets at the top. Vaibhav Arora in particular looked menacing, dismissing Mankad and Stoinis in the 7th over to give the Knights the upper hand. Sunil Narine kept the pressure on the LSG batters in the middle overs picking up 2 wickets for 28 runs in his 4 overs.
The Knights began the chase in domineering fashion as Jason Roy and Venkatesh Iyer put up a 61 run opening stand before the latter was dismissed in the 6th over. However, the Knights lost a bit of momentum in the middle overs losing the wickets of Rana and Roy in quick succession. As the ball started to hold up, runs started to dry up and the Knights also kept losing wickets trying to stay in touch with the asking rate. Needing 41 to win off the last couple of overs, Rinku Singh who had held up one end so far, got into his zone, taking 20 of Naveen ul Haq in the 19th over to set up a nail biting finish. Needing 21 to win off the last over, Rinku almost pulled off the impossible yet again as he plundered 16 runs off the last 3 balls only for the Knights to fall short by 1 run at the end. Rinku finished the innings not out at 67* of 33 in what was his 4th 50 of the season. The southpaw also finishes the season with 474 runs to his name at an astonishing average of 59.25 and SR of 149.5!
Speaking after the match, Nitish Rana lauded the efforts of Rinku Singh for the remarkable season. The Skipper stressed on needing to get better on all three fronts next year and said that the Knights will work on their weaknesses to put up a stronger challenge next year.
The Knights will bow out of the season with their heads held high despite the disappointment of missing out on a playoff spot. The emergence of Rinku Singh as one of the best finishers in the game along with Harshit and Vaibhav proving themselves capable of leading the Knights attack in the latter stages of the league, are big positives that the Knights will take away from the conclusion of the league stage. The likes of Varun Chakaravarthy and Venkatesh Iyer also rediscovered their mojo this season and will look to build on the hard work they put in this year. With young uncapped players putting their hands up and leading the charge throughout the season, the future of the Knights is in good hands.