IPL

Punjab Kings beat KKR in thriller to keep IPL play-off hopes alive

By Sports Desk October 01, 2021

Punjab Kings emerged triumphant after a dramatic finish to beat Kolkata Knight Riders by five wickets and keep their Indian Premier League play-off hopes alive.

Chasing 166 to win, captain KL Rahul (67 runs from 55 balls) took Punjab to the brink of a vital victory only to fall in the final over, leaving them needing four from as many balls.

Shahrukh Khan (22 from nine) then looked like he had been caught in the deep off the next delivery, only for Rahul Tripathi to drop the ball over the boundary for a six, ending the contest.

That thrilling finale came after a run chase that Punjab had long looked to have under control, with Mayank Agarwal (40 from 27) also making a key contribution.

KKR had earlier managed 165-7 after being put in to bat, with Venkatesh Iyer scoring 67 off 49 to give his side a chance.

Instead, Punjab's successful chase means they join KKR and Mumbai Indians on 10 points in a competitive battle to achieve a top-four place.

No Gayle, no problem for Kings

Chris Gayle leaving the IPL due to bubble fatigue was a blow for the Kings, but they were still able to get the win they desperately needed here.

Rahul, who had two maximums, anchored the innings and would have been disappointed not to have finished the chase himself. Still, he can reflect on a job well done while sitting as the competition's leading run scorer with 489, this being his fifth fifty in 11 matches.

KKR fail to build on Iyer platform

With Andre Russell out injured, it was Iyer who did the damage with the bat for KKR, his 72-run partnership with Tripathi for the second wicket setting an impressive platform.

However, KKR did not take full advantage and, having reached 120-2, they struggled. After Iyer's dismissal, Nitish Rana (31 off 18) was the only batter able to accelerate the rate.

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