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Kolkata hold nerves to see off Punjab in a thriller

Kolkata Knight Riders once again held their nerve and defeated Kings XI Punjab by two runs in a thrilling contest of the Indian Premier League on Saturday.

Punjab dominated most of the match at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium but ultimately fell short as Kolkata gradually clawed their way back at different stage of the last six overs. Punjab bowled brilliant first 10 overs before skipper Dinesh Kartik pushed Kolkata to what turned out to be a challenging 164-6 after the two-time champions elected to bat first.

KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal once again brought a century partnership and Punjab were cruising at 115 without loss by the start of 15th over. Kolkata hit back with the wicket of Agarwal before restricting them to 162-5.

Nitish Rana conceded just seven runs in the 14th over leaving Punjab with 52 to get from last six overs. Going by the present standard of run chae patterns, Punjab were clearly in the driving seat. Prasidh Krishna returned for his spell and removed Agarwal in 15th over giving away just four runs.

Punjab collected 19 runs from the 16th over as the match was well withing their graps requiring 29 off 24. Spinners Varun Chakravarthy and Sunil Narine gave away just nine runs in the next two overs and it was the latter who made the biggest impact removing big-hitting Nicholas Pooran (16) and conceding just two runs in the 18th.

KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal did all the hard work for Kings XI Punjab but it was not yet enough. PHOTO: BCCI/IPL

Needing 20 to win from last 12 balls, Punjab wilted under pressure when they lost Simran Singh and Rahul to Prasidh Krishna and collected just six runs. Narine then conceded 11 runs in the final over as Kolkata climbed to third spot following their fourth victory. The misery continued for Punjab, staying at the bottom with just one win to their name.

Rahul continued his sublime form in the tournament making 74 from 58 hitting six boundaries, while Agarwal’s 39-ball 58 included six boundaries and a maximum. Krishna took 3-29 for Kolkata.

Earlier Punjab contained Kolkata batsmen until 10 overs before man-of-the-match Kartik played a decisive innings. He shared 82 runs for the fourth wicket with opener Shubman Gill who also made a half century.

Kartik scored 58 from 29 balls hitting eight fours and two sixes. Gill’s 47-ball 58 included seven boundaries, while Eoin Morgan (24) also chipped in crucial runs.

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