KKR skipper Nitish Rana© BCCI

Kolkata Knight Riders kept their hopes for the playoffs alive with a thrilling victory over Punjab Kings on Monday. Chasing 180, KKR lost some initial wickets but a fiery half-century from skipper Nitish Rana and a brilliant partnership from Andre Russell and Rinku Singh, guided them to a five-wicket win on the last ball of the match. In the first innings, PBKS kept losing wickets at regular intervals but did lose the momentum as Harpreet Brar and Shahrukh Khan smashed 36 runs in the last two overs, which were bowled by Vaibhav Arora and Harshit Rana.

In the entire innings, all-rounder Shardul Thakur was not given a single over to bowl and this decision by Nitish did not go down well with the former India spinner Anil Kumble. Speaking on Jio Cinema, Kumble called him a “quality” bowler and termed Nitish’s decision as “very strange”.

“He probably would be marking his run up at the Oval. He doesn’t get an over which is very strange. He’s a quality bowler. Yes he gives runs but he has the knack to pick wickets as well,” said Kumble.

In their previous match against Sunrisers Hyderabad, Shardul scalped two wickets and conceded only 16 runs in his three-over quota.

Coming to the match, Rinku Singh added another bright chapter to his legend as a “finisher” with a last-ball boundary as Kolkata Knight Riders beat Punjab Kings by five wickets on Monday to keep their IPL play-off hopes alive.

It was a complete ‘RRR’ show by KKR as skipper Nitish Rana’s half-century and Andre Russell adding muscle to the chase of 180 enabled Rinku to finish off the game with a 10-ball-21 not out.

Earlier, Varun Chakravarthy once again brilliantly spearheaded their bowling department to grab 3/26 as KKR put up a tidy bowling show to restrict PBKS to a below-par 179 for seven after the visitors opted to bat on a slow wicket.

(With PTI Inputs)

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