Shahrukh Khan and Harpreet Brar's blitz in the final two overs after skipper Shikhar Dhawan's fifty powered Punjab Kings (PBKS) to 179/7 against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 match at the Eden Gardens, here on Monday.
Punjab were off to a promising start as Prabhsimran Singh made his intentions clear from the get-go, but could not continue for long. The visitors lost two wickets inside the first four overs.
Liam Livingstone hit a few lusty blows but slipped out eventually. Only, Dhawan (57 off 47) stood out with the bat with his fifty but he lost his wicket at the brink of death overs. The duo of Shahrukh (21 not out off 8) and Harpreet (17 not out off 9) helped them raise 36 runs off the last 12 balls of the inning to turn the momentum on their side.
KKR spin trio of Sunil Narine (1-7), Suyash Sharma (1-26) and Varun Chakaravarthy (3-26) did extremely well to keep things under control in the middle overs. They even put a lid over the run rate. Nitish Rana then surprised everyone, when he got himself into the attack and got rid of the opposition skipper at a crucial juncture of the game.
Opting to bat first, PBKS were off to a strong start with opening duo Prabhsimran Singh and Dhawan collecting runs through boundaries. Harshit Rana struck early in the second over to dismiss Prabhsimran.
Prabhsimran charged a length ball to swat it over the leg side but he got a top edge and the ball went high to the right of Rahmatullah Gurbaz behind the stumps.
Harshit trapped his second victim in the form of Bhanuka Rajapaksa, who played an aggressive cover drive on the front foot but edged it behind and Gurbaz was quick to pouch it safely as Punjab were reduced to 32/2.
Then, Livingstone took Andre Russell to the cleaners, smashing him for four boundaries before falling in the next over off the bowling of Chakravarthy.
Livingstone was squared up on the back foot, missed the defence and was hit on the back leg. The umpire has no doubts about that one. PBKS have reviewed it immediately but the projection showed the ball clipping the bails. PBKS were 58/3 at the end of the Power-play.
KKR bowlers slowed down the innings a bit with just three big boundaries coming in the next four overs and Punjab were 82/3 halfway through the innings.
With the pressure building up, Jitesh Sharma cleared the front leg and played a slog sweep towards deep mid-wicket for a maximum. Then, Dhawan employed a reverse sweep and placed it well wide of the fielder at backward point for a boundary.
In the next over, the PBKS skipper hammered two successive boundaries, taking 11 runs off the over. Chakravarthy struck again in the 13th over to get rid of Jitesh for 21, breaking the 53-run stand and PBKS were four down.
Shikhar shuffled outside off to get in line and swept it flat over deep square-leg for six to bring up a 41-ball half-century. But soon after bringing his third fifty of the season, the PBKS skipper headed back to the pavilion.
Rana did the trick for his side. The Kolkata skipper puts his hand up this time and has the final laugh and got rid of the Punjab captain.
After Shikhar Dhawan's dismissal, Rishi Dhawan was playing a bit of a blinder to add crucial runs on the board but Chakravarthy got him in the last over of his spell to claim his third. The next over Suyash removed Sam Curran cheaply for 4.
Harpreet and Shahrukh collected three boundaries off the penultimate over, taking 15 runs to come off it. Then, the latter started the last over with a six over the bowler's head and followed that up with two successive boundaries. Then, Harpreet smoked it a long way over the mid-wicket fence for a maximum. The duo added crucial 36 runs in the last two overs as able to get 179 runs on the board.
Punjab Kings 179/7 in 20 overs (Shikhar Dhawan 57, Shahrukh Khan 21 not out; Varun Chakaravarthy 3-26, Harshit Rana 2-33) against Kolkata Knight Riders.