Hyderabad: Kolkata Knight Riders continued their impressive form as they defended a modest total for the second time in a row. The Dinesh Karthik-led pulled off a stunning two-run win over a fumbling Kings XI Punjab in the IPL match on Saturday.
Chasing 165 for victory, KXIP were in control after KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal added 115 runs for the opening wicket in 14 overs. However, they lost four wickets in a span of three overs to lose the match. With 14 required off the final over, KKR opted for Sunil Narine and he conceded 11 runs to win the match for his side.
Speaking after the match, Karthik said that their option was always Narine to bowl the final over. “We had no other thoughts. We wanted Sunil to bowl the final over. We knew that because the way he bowled in the match was fantastic. With six needed off the last ball, we spoke about bowling a wide yorker and he executed well. But Maxi (Glenn Maxwell) played a great shot and almost cleared the fence. Overall it is a great match,” he said after the match.
Speaking about their plans on containing the runs, he said, ““They (KXIP) took the chase really deep. They kept us out for the better part of the match. We just hung in there. We knew once we get a wicket, we can make inroads. Our plan was to give single to KL and bring other batsman on strike. Sunny did a great job in the final over.”
Karthik, who was under scanner with a string of poor performances with the bat, , finally hit the form and scored quickfire 29-ball 58. He said he was delighted to contribute to the team’s victory. “The way the team supported me was very great. I am happy to contribute with the bat. More than that, I am happy with the pace I batted today as those quick runs helped us put on a good total,” he added.
With Andre Russell limping off the field with a niggle while fielding, they were a bowler short but they never panicked. “We definitely missed him at the death overs. He is our specialist bowler in death overs. Though he was injured, he came in and tried to field. But he could not. So he had to go out.”
Meanwhile, Mayank Agarwal, who scored 56 runs, said it was disappointing to lose such a match. Explaining the reasons for the loss, he said, “We just lost wickets in the end. It was not easy for a new batsman to come and score runs straight away. We lost wickets and we paid for it,” said a disappointed opener. Though the openers were among runs, their team was not crossing the line on many occasions.
Asked whether the top order was under extra pressure because of the poor performances from middle order, he said, “I don’t think so. The talk in the dressing room was, whoever is in form should take responsibility and bat longer. So it is good that both of us are scoring runs. One of us wanted to stay till the end but that didn’t happen.”
He also conceded that the road ahead for them is very tough. “It is going to be very hard. But we have to move on. There are seven more matches to go. We have to look at positives and try to play good cricket.”
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