Rinku pulls off miracle for KKR


Kolkata’s Rinku Singh smashed five successive sixes on the last five balls of Yash Dayal to complete an improbable heist in the history of IPL…reports Asian Lite News

With five balls left in the final over, Kolkata Knight Riders needed 28 runs, with a victory for Gujarat Titans looking imminent, especially after stand-in captain Rashid Khan took a hat-trick.

But Rinku Singh smashed five successive sixes on the last five balls off Yash Dayal to complete an improbable heist in the history of IPL and give Kolkata a memorable three-wicket victory at the Narendra Modi Stadium.

Fifties from B Sai Sudharsan and Vijay Shankar, including him smashing Lockie Ferguson and Shardul Thakur for five sixes and two fours in the 19th and 20 overs, yielding 45 runs overall, took Gujarat to 204/4 in 20 overs.

In reply, Venkatesh Iyer smashed 83 off 40 balls and shared a 100-run partnership off 55 balls with captain Nitish Rana to take Kolkata to victory. But ‘ashid’s hat-trick in the 17th overturned the game in G’jarat’s favour before Rinku brought in another twist through his unbeaten 48 in a jaw-dropping display of strokeplay to seal a Kolkata win.

Rahmanullah Gurbaz fell to a short ball from Mohammed Shami in the third over, with short leg holding on to the catch and avoiding a collision with substitute keeper KS Bharat. Josh Little sent back N Jagadeesan in the fourth over by having him pull straight to deep square leg.

Iyer, coming in as an impact player for Suyash Sharma, got off the mark with an upper cut over the third man for six. Every shot coming from his bat was finely middled – like the punch off Shami, executing a deft shot off Alzarri Joseph and pulling off Dayal to hit a boundary each in the last three overs of power-play.

After the field restrictions were lifted, Iyer pulled Dayal for a four and six in the seventh over. In the next over, Rana pulled and cut off Alzarri Joseph for two sixes. Rashid brought himself on in the ninth over, but Iyer slog-swept him for six, followed by Rana pulling for four more in the 11th over.

In the next over, Iyer reached his fifty in 26 balls by flicking Dayal past short fine leg for four, followed by hitting a brace of sixes over square leg and long-off. Boundaries continued to flow as Rana brought out the sweep and reverse-sweep against Rashid. But Joseph broke the century-partnership in the 16th over as Rana chipped straight to mid-off.

Iyer continued to keep Kolkata in the hunt, hitting Little for two fours in the 15th over, before ending the over with a clean swing over long-off for six. His blistering knock came to an end in the next over when he holed out to long-on off Joseph.

The crowd suddenly found its noise back and that got louder in the 17th over when Rashid had Andre Russell caught behind off an inside edge, Sunil Narine caught at deep mid-wicket and trapped Shardul Thakur lbw with a googly to complete a sensational hat-trick.

But Rinku had other ideas – hitting Little straight down the ground for six and pulling him through square leg for four in the 19th over. With 29 needed off the final over, Rinku feasted on poor balls from Dayal by smashing a hat-trick of sixes over wide long-off, backward square leg and long-off. He then hit successive sixes over long-on fence to give Kolkata an unimaginable victory.

Earlier, Sudharsan smashed his second successive half-century of the tournament through 53 off 38 balls while Shankar slammed a sensational 63 not out off just 24 balls to take Gujarat above 200.

Wriddhiman Saha fell in a bid to go big against Narine, top-edged a slog sweep, and Jagadeesan running backwards to take a brilliant over-the-shoulder catch. While Sudharsan got off the mark with a late cut against Narine for four, Shubman Gill was pristine in successive driven fours off Varun Chakaravarthy.

The duo took to attacking the spinners in their 67-run stand – Gill used his feet to loft for boundaries, while Sudharsan was superb in holding his shape and dancing down the pitch for his lofted shots.

Gill tried to loft off Narine in the 12th over but holed out to long-on. Abhinav Manohar began his promotion to number four by hitting a hat-trick of fours off Umesh, but his innings was cut short by a deceptive googly from Suyash, which spun back to beat his inside edge and crashed into the stumps.

Sudharsan pulled Thakur through mid-wicket for four, before getting his fifty in 34 balls. But in the 18th over, he holed out to long-off against Narine. With the score at 158/4 in 18 overs, Shankar provided for the finishing touch, as a top-edge on his pull went for six.

He followed it up by flaying a wide delivery over the short third man for four and ended the 25-run over of Ferguson with a clean loft over long-off for six. Shankar notched up his fifty in 21 balls with a hat-trick of sixes off Thakur through pull, loft and slog in the final over, to take Gujarat above 200, which turned out to b’ insufficient in front of Rinku’s unforgettable heist.

Brief scores: Gujarat Titans 204/4 in 20 overs (B Sai Sudharsan 53, Vijay Shankar 63 not out; Sunil Narine 3-33, Suyash Sharma 1-35) lost to Kolkata Knight Riders 207/7 in 20 overs (Venkatesh Iyer 83, Rinku Singh 48 not out; Rashid Khan 3-37, Alzarri Joseph 2-27) by three wickets

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