In the 53rd match of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023, Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) beat Punjab Kings (PBKS) by five wickets at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata. With this victory, KKR now jumped to the fifth spot of the points table.
PBKS captain Shikhar Dhawan opted to bat first on a batting-friendly deck. Despite having a quick start, the Punjab-based outfit was losing its wickets a regular intervals, but a half-century from Shikhar, and some fiery quick cameo innings from Shahrukh Khan and Harpreet Brar helped Punjab to score a competitive total of 179/7 in their 20 overs.
While chasing, the Knight Riders too had a steady start, but the visitors drew the first blood in the fifth over by dismissing Rahmanullah Gurbaz (15) in the fourth over. After the first wicket, the home team skipper, Nitish Rana (51) came to the turf and started to counterattack to neutralise the pressure, along with Jason Roy (38), but Brar scalped Roy’s wicket in the eighth over. Rana continued his attacking intent in this chase, and with Venkatesh Iyer (15), both of them stitched a 51 runs partnership to continue the momentum. But both of them lose their wickets in successive overs, which helped Punjab to create some dents in this chase to clinch the match. The responsibility of taking Kolkata to the win comes on the shoulders of Andre Russell (42) and Rinku Singh (21)*. Russell charged on in the penultimate over, which was delivered by Sam Curran where he smacked three sixes in the over and scored 20 runs. Although the 35-year-old Caribbean all-rounder got run out in the second last delivery of the last over that created a sniff for Punjab to grab the match, as the host required two runs on the last ball, but once again Rinku turned out to be a hero for Kolkata, as he smacked the ball for the boundary, that helped KKR to grab a last-ball thriller.
In the first innings, PBKS openers Prabhsimran Singh (12) and Dhawan (57) gave a very positive start to the visitors, but in the second over itself, Prabhsimran got out by Harshit Rana in the second over. The captain Shikhar continued his game to consolidate and stabilize the innings, but the middle order could not able to give support to their captain. Bhanuka Rajapaksa got out on duck whereas Liam Livingstone (15) was dismissed by Varun Chakaravarthy. Dhawan along with Jitesh Sharma (21) stabilise the innings and built 53 runs partnership, but in the end, Shahrukh Khan (21)* and Brar (17)*, with their hitting galore helped Punjab to put up a formidable score.
For KKR, Chakaravarthy was the star with the ball, as he claimed three wickets. Harshit got two wickets, and Suyash Sharma and Nitish secured one wicket each.
Andre Russell, for his sensational match-finishing knock of 42 runs was adjudged Player of the Match.
Punjab Kings: 179/7, Overs 20, Shikhar Dhawan 57, Varun Chakaravarthy 3/26
Kolkata Knight Riders: 182/5, Overs 20, Nitish Rana 51, Rahul Chahar 2/23