IPL 2021: Captain Rahul inspires Punjab to 5-wicket win over KKR

KL Rahul
KL Rahul played a captain's knock to guide Punjab Kings to victory. Photo: Twitter @IPL

Dubai: KL Rahul scored 67 to inspire Punjab Kings to a five-wicket win over KKR in an Indian Premier League match here on Friday.

Chasing KKR's total of 165/7, Rahul and Mayank Agarwal gave Punjab a steady start. After Agarwal's dismissal for 40 off 27 with the score reading 70/1, Rahul took charge, only to err in the final over when four runs were required off as many balls.

His attempt to clear the boundary resulted in a catch, but Shahrukh Khan got his side over the line with a six with three balls to spare.

Earlier, Venkatesh Iyer hit a fluent 67 while Nitish Rana produced a fiery 31 off 18 balls before Punjab Kings managed to stop Kolkata Knight Riders at 165 for seven.

Invited to bat, the in-form KKR batsmen controlled the proceedings for a major part of their innings and had it not been some excellent death over spells by Mohammed Shami (1/23) and Arshdeep Singh (3/32), KKR would have got a bigger score on the board.

Iyer and Tripathi (34 off 26 balls) raised a 72-run stand, stroking the ball around with ease. Rana's cameo was also crucial for KKR.

Left-arm pacer Arshdeep has been a top performer for the Punjab side this season and he delivered again by cleaning up Shubhman Gill (7) with a peach of delivery that breached the defence of the batsman in the third over.

Iyer, who has been a revelation this season, continued his good run with some fluent drives on both sides of the wicket despite that the ball was stopping a bit before coming on to the bat.

The batsmen's positive approach and lack of control over the line by the Punjab pacers meant that run-rate kept soaring for KKR.

The partnership was finally broken by spinner Ravi Bishnoi, who had Tripathi caught in the deep. The leg-spinner was also economical ending with figures of two for 22 in four overs.

Iyer completed his fifty with a single off Allen and then lofted the West Indian bowler for a six to raise team's hundred in the 13th over.

Two quick wickets fell when Bishnoi got rid of Iyer, who went for a big shot, and Shami trapped rival skipper Eoin Morgan (2), who shuffled a bit towards the off side but missed the line of the dipping ball, catching him in front of the wicket.

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