Lucknow Super Giants survived a late Rinku Singh onslaught to secure a thrilling one-run win and seal their second successive play-offs berth in the Indian Premier League (IPL 2023) at the Eden Gardens on Saturday.
Pooran held the LSG innings together with a counter-attacking 30-ball 58 (4x4, 5x6) to propel them to a fighting 176/8 after being invited to bat.
Rinku Singh almost pulled it off for KKR again
Chasing 177 for a win, Rinku threatened to pull off yet another last over win for KKR with a ruthless 67 not out from 33 balls (6x4, 4x6) as he waged a lone battle. But it was not enough in the end as KKR ended at 175 for 7 to lose the match by one run.
With 12 points from 14 matches, KKR were out of play-offs contention.
The left-handed Rinku smashed Naveenul-Haq for three fours and one six in a 20-run penultimate over to bring up his fifty in 27 balls.
KKR needed 21 runs off the last over bowled by Yash Thakur (2/12) but they could score only 19 as Rinku hit two sixes and a four.
LSG secure third playoff spot
LSG thus finished third in the table with 17 points from 14 matches, sealing a back-to-back play-offs berth. Chennai Super Kings also ended with 17 points from 14 matches but they took the second spot with a better net run rate of +0.652 as against +0.284 of LSG.
Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore who play their last matches on Sunday are in the race for the lone fourth spot.
It was a target KKR needed to win inside nine overs to go past Royal Challengers Bangalore on net run-rate and keep their slender IPL play-offs hopes alive.
Roy, Iyer tried their best
The KKR opening duo of Jason Roy (45) and Venkatesh Iyer (24) showed the right intent, taking on Mohsin Khan and Naveen-ul-Haq in the first two overs to race to 30 for no loss.
Roy then took LSG skipper Krunal to cleaners when he hit the left-arm spinner for three boundaries in a row.
From being 61 for no loss, KKR lost the plot as the LSG spinners strangled them right after the powerplay when Iyer, Nitish Rana (8) and Roy got out for the addition of just 21 runs.
By then, KKR's slim hopes were gone and it was about playing for pride.
Leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi (2/23) was the pick of LSG bowlers, while Krunal and Krishnappa Gowtham also bagged one each.
LSG recover from 73/5 to post 176/8
Earlier, Nicholas Pooran held the innings together with a counter-attacking fifty to propel LSG to a fighting 176 for eight.
Pooran (58 off 30 balls) rebuilt the innings after LSG were precariously placed at 73/5 with all their top batters, including the in-form duo of Marcus Stoinis (0) and Krunal Pandya (9), getting out cheaply.
(To receive our E-paper on WhatsApp daily, please click here. To receive it on Telegram, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)