In yet another incredible finish, Andre Russell 42(23) and Rinku Singh 21* (10) came in clutch in the final overs to take the Knights home in a topsy turvy game at the Eden Gardens on Monday night.
Winning the toss earlier in the evening, Punjab Kings chose to bat first. The Kings came into the game with 4 consecutive 200 plus scores but found going tough against the new look Knights pace attack with younster Harshit Rana 2/33 impressing once again removing Punjab opener Prabhsimran Singh and Rajapaksa in a fiery opening spell. With 3 wickets down within the powerplay, the Knights spin trio then collectively gave away just 81 from their 12 overs with Varun Chakravarthy once again being the pick of the bowlers picking up 3/26 in his 4 overs.
Skipper Rana also chipped in with the crucial wicket of Shikhar Dhawan in the 15th over to ensure the Kings Skipper didn’t take the game away from the Knights towards the end of the innings.
In response, the Knights got off to a brisk start despite losing Gurbaz (15) in the 5th over courtesy another rapid knock from Jason Roy 38(24). However, the Kings tightened the noose after Roy's dismissal as the Kings got in a few economical overs in post his wicket. Skipper Rana dug into Livingstone in the 11th over, hitting 2 boundaries and a six in the opening 3 balls to wrestle the momentum back in favour of the Knights. The Knights skipper made his way into another well made 50 before holing out in the deep for 51 (38).
With 56 needed from the final 28 balls Andre Russell and Rinku Singh got together to put on a fiery stand that saw the Knights home. Dre Russ, who has been long due a match winning knock, delivered big time smashing Sam Curran for 3 sixes in the 19th over to bring down the equation to just 7 of the last 6 balls. However a fighting over from Kings pacer Arshdeep Singh created immense pressure and Russell was run out in the penultimate ball trying to sneak in a cheeky signal. With 2 needed off the final ball, Rinku found the fine leg boundary much to the joy of the Knights faithful in the stands and the KKR dugout.
Speaking after the match, a delighted Rinku Singh said that he has been preparing himself for these match situations and now backs himself to get the Knights over in tight chases. A relieved skipper Rana said that he always knew Dre Russ was just an innings away from hitting top form and was glad the allrounder came good in a crunch game like this. Russell was also awarded the Man of the Match for his match winning effort.
With the win, the Knights go 5th in the table to keep their chances for a playoff spot in their own hands. The Knights host the Rajasthan Royals next on Thursday and will be looking to keep the winning momentum going as the league stage of the IPL nears its conclusion.