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IPL-2024: Punjab Kings record chase down KKR’s 261 runs at Eden Gardens

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Punjab Kings chased down KKR’s 261 in a record-bringing run-chase at the Eden Gardens. Despite a splendid all-round performance from Sunil Narine, multiple records tumbled as Punjab Kings, led by Jonny Bairstow’s unbeaten century, and quickfire fifties from Prabhsimran Singh and Shashank Singh, registered an eight-wicket win with eight balls to spare over Kolkata Knight Riders in a scarcely believable contest at the Eden Gardens on Friday (April 26).

To say that KKR were contained despite scoring 69 runs in the last five overs can be a bit harsh, but in the second-highest scoring game of the IPL (match aggregate: 523 runs), where the carnage with the bat never stopped, that proved to be the differentiating factor.

The in-form Kolkata Knight Riders openers continued to exert their dominance. Narine got going with a boundary off the first ball, freeing his arms and powerfully driving a widish delivery by Sam Curran through the extra cover region. While Salt took time to go on the offensive, Narine was at it throughout, taking down Arshdeep Singh and Kagiso Rabada. In the third over, Salt also joined the act and clubbed two sixes and a four off Harshal Patel. Both the openers had their moments of luck with Harpreet Brar putting down Narine in the third over and Curran dropping a straightforward chance at mid off in the sixth over to offer Salt a life on 34.

Even after the field restrictions were removed, Narine and Salt continued to pile misery on the PBKS bowlers. Rahul Chahar bowled a tight over and even had the opportunity to have Salt caught a run later, but this time Rabada put down another straightforward chance. Later, Salt and Narine hammered the South African for 22 runs and went on to pile 128 runs for the opening wicket before both were dismissed in quick succession. Nonetheless, Venkatesh Iyer and Andre Russell, batting at No 3 and No 4, muscled a few big shots and ensured that the scoring rate didn’t witness a dip through the middle overs.

Sam Curran struck early in the death overs to dismiss Andre Russell with a sharp bouncer. However, Shreyas Iyer took down the left-arm pacer in the 18th over, hammering two sixes and a four off successive deliveries. His stay was brief, but a 10-ball 28 provided KKR the flourish it needed. The rest of the batters struggled to provide the impetus in the death overs but KKR still managed to post 261/6 – the highest total at Eden Gardens.

Led by Prabhsimran Singh’s blazing 18-ball half-century, Punjab Kings put up a strong show in the powerplay. He mixed conventional strokes with some clever scoops as KKR bowlers found it difficult to keep a check on the scoring. Prabhsimran got going with the attack on Harshit Rana in the second over and continued it till the end of the powerplay when an attempt to run a risky single ended his stay with a run out. Jonny Bairstow, who stayed away from the strike for most of the partnership also got going in the last over, taking down Anukul Roy for two sixes and three boundaries. The 93/1 they got was the highest-ever score posted by PBKS, and also the fourth-highest ever in IPL history.

Barring three overs of Narine in which he conceded only 12 runs, there wasn’t much to stop PBKS’s rampage even through the middle overs. In this phase, it was largely Bairstow taking over the mantle of scoring with Rilee Rossouw struggling for most parts of his stay. The most lethal of Bairstow’s attack came against Andre Russell when he smashed the pacer for 24 runs in the 12th over, which included three sixes.

Needing nearly 12 runs an over heading into the death overs, PBKS didn’t let their guard down. A tight over by Harshit Rana helped KKR make the chase slightly stiff for the visitors but Shashank smashed seven sixes and a boundary in the next two overs to end KKR’s hopes. Defending only nine runs off the last two overs, Chameera was smashed down the ground for another six by Shashank and PBKS closed down the target with three comfortable singles.

Brief Scores: Kolkata Knight Riders 261/6 in 20 overs (Phil Salt 75, Sunil Narine 71; Arshdeep Singh 2-45) lost to Punjab Kings 262/2 in 18.4 overs (Jonny Bairstow 108*, Shashank Singh 68*; Sunil Narine 1-24) by 8 wickets

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