Mohali: Punjab Kings' costliest recruit Sam Curran dismissed the dangerous Andre Russell at the nick of time to ensure a seven-run victory over Kolkata Knight Riders via Duckworth-Lewis method in a rain-hit afternoon encounter of Indian Premier League, here on Saturday.
Chasing a target of 192, KKR were left stranded at 146 for 7 after 16 overs when heavy downpour put spanner on their hardwork. The DLS par score at that time was 153.
Had KKR not lost Russell (35 off 19 balls), who was looking to walk away with the game and then Venkatesh Iyer to Arshdeep Singh in the next over, the par score would have been lower before heavens opened up.
The two wickets in the 15th and 16th over proved to be decisive as KKR needed 46 off 24 balls at that stage with Shardul Thakur (8 not out) and Sunil Narine (7 not out) were at the crease.
Kolkata needed 62 from 32 balls when Curran dismissed an on-song Russell and Arshdeep removed the 'Impact Substitute' Venkatesh Iyer (34) which proved to be turning point. Russell was holed at deep mid-wicket and Iyer was snapped at point.
The burly West Indian Russell had ignited KKR's hopes of a turnaround with three fours and two sixes, while Iyer made the first real impact with in his 28 ball knock that had three fours and a six.
KKR had a poor start as they were reduced to 29/3 inside the first five overs but a 46-run stand for the fourth wicket between Iyer and skipper Nitish Rana (24) brought them back in contest. Then a 50-run partnership between Iyer and Russell put them on course for a possible chase.
But KKR just did not have enough firepower in them on the day and Arshdeep's brilliant figures of 3/19 in 3 overs was a game-changer for the 'Red Devils'.
Arshdeep bowled an eventful second over, striking on the first ball to have Mandeep Singh (2) caught at deep mid-wicket by Curran. After Anukul Roy hit him for a four, the India pacer had the left-handed batter caught at short mid-wicket.
Earlier in the first half, Bhanuka Rajapaksa slammed a quickfire 50 to guide Punjab Kings to a challenging 191 for five against Kolkata Knight Riders.
Rajapaksa added 86 runs for the second wicket with captain Shikhar Dhawan (40) to lay a strong platform, with Sam Curran (26 not out) providing late flurry on a batting friendly wicket.
Punjab dominated the first half of the innings with aggressive batting and looked primed to cross 200, but KKR managed to pull things back in control with regular wickets after a sturdy 86-run association between Rajapaksa and Dhawan.
The left-handed Sri Lankan Rajapaksa made the most of wrong lines bowled to him by KKR bowlers, racing to the first half-century for PBKS this season.
Riding on the momentum provided by Prabhsimran Singh (23) at the top, Rajapaksa ensured Punjab maintained the domination while Dhawan played the second fiddle throughout his stay.
They went about their job with precision to score nearly 10 runs an over, adding 86 runs from just 55 balls for the second wicket.
The Sri Lankan batter toyed with the KKR bowling, finding gaps and clearing the ropes at will and perished only after scoring 50 from 32 balls with five fours and two sixes.
Jitesh Sharma hit a couple of sixes to score a quickfire 21 from 11 balls while playing his first IPL match, Raza scored 16 from 13 balls with a six and a four each.
The start of the second innings was delayed by about 30 minutes owing to the malfunctioning of the six floodlights installed here at the PCA Stadium.