Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) sealed a thrilling 2-point victory over Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) to become the second team to confirm a playoff spot in the 2022 Indian Premier League (IPL) season at DY Patil Stadium, Navi Mumbai on Wednesday 18 May.
Quinton de Kock (140 steps off 70 balls) worked his way to the highest individual score this season and alongside KL Rahul (68 steps off 51 balls) set up the highest opener partnership from the IPL to help LSG post an impressive 210/0.
Mohsin Khan (3/20) then picked up some major wickets but Rinku Singh (40 from 15) played a blinder as he trailed Kolkata agonizingly close to the finish line. However, Marcus Stoinis (3/23) kept his composure in a thrilling finale to seal a narrow 2-point win.
Kolkata’s chase got off to a rocky start as Mohsin fired Venkatesh Iyer on a duck in the first innings with de Kock taking a ‘Catch of the Season’ contender behind the wickets. Iyer got a thick inside edge and de Kock lunged to the right to take a mid-air one-handed catch.
Mohsin then had debutant Abhijeet Tomar (4) caught in 3rd to reduce KKR to 10/2. However, Nitish Rana broke five fours against Avesh Khan in the next class to regain control of KKR.
Shreyas Iyer joined at the other end with four, six and four in a row against Jason Holder in the 5th. Rana then had a hat trick of four against Krishnappa Gowtham in the 6th as KKR ran 60/2 late on the power play.
Gowtham however took his revenge in the 8th by catching Rana (42 on 22 balls) during the very first delivery. However, Sam Billings made sure KKR didn’t lose momentum as he went out and hit six, six, four and four in a row against Avesh Khan in the 10th.
Together Billings and Shreyas added 66 runs on 40 balls before the pair were separated in the 14th. Stoinis entered the attack and had Shreyas caught (50 from 29 balls), immediately after the KKR captain brought up his half-century.
Ravi Bishnoi (1/34) then struck on the 16th over as he chipped Billings (36 from 24 balls) with a well-disguised slower googly. Mohsin then ended Andre Russell’s miserable outing (5-for-11) in the next period as the KKR hitter came back without hitting a boundary.
However, Sunil Narine (21 off 7 balls) and Rinku Singh (40 off 15 balls) then crushed 58 runs off just 19 balls to reduce the equation to the 21 runs needed for the final.
Rinku started the final in stunning fashion with a four, six and six on Stoinis’ first three balls before grabbing two runs on the 4th delivery to make it 3 needed on the last 2 balls.
However, Evin Lewis then managed a howl on the penultimate delivery to cause heartache for the 24-year-old hitter.
Rinku sliced a full Stoinis delivery high on the cover and Lewis came in charging from the deep backstitch and reached out his left hand at the last moment to take a great sliding one-handed hold.
Stoinis (3/23) then kept his cool to castle Umesh Yadav with a slower yorker on the final delivery and sparked wild celebrations as Lucknow sealed their playoff spot.
Earlier at the Toss, KL Rahul opted to strike as Lucknow made three substitutions with Manan Vohra, Lewis and Gowtham entering the side. Kolkata only made one change when Tomar replaced the injured Ajinkya Rahane.
LSG went on a flyer as Rahul and de Kock battled pacemakers KKR while carefully navigating Sunil Narine (0/27) who cast an impressive economic spell.
de Kock was the first to reach his fifty balls on 36 in the 12th. Rahul followed suit, reaching his half century with 41 balls in the 14th. LSG were still only 122/0 after 15 overs when de Kock really picked up the pace.
The South African broke two sixes and a four against Varun Chakaravarthy (0/38) in the 16th and opened his second IPL century on 59 balls with a limit against Russell in the 18th.
de Kock then scored a hat-trick of six against Tim Southee (0/57) in the penultimate and saved the best for last by smashing four consecutive fours against Russell (0/45) in the final to fire LSG at 210/0.