Kolkata: Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) survived a late Rinku Singh onslaught to secure a thrilling one-run win over Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and seal their second successive playoffs berth in the Indian Premier League here on Saturday.
Pooran's counter-attacking 30-ball 58 (4x4, 5x6) to propel them to a fighting 176/8 after being invited to bat.
It was a target KKR needed to win inside nine overs to go past Royal Challengers Bangalore on net run-rate and keep their slender play-offs hopes alive.
Rinku threatened to pull off yet another last over win for KKR with a ruthless 67 not out from 33 balls (6x4, 4x6). But it was not enough in the end as KKR ended with175/7.
The left-handed Rinku smashed Naveenul-Haq for three fours and one six in a 20-run penultimate over to bring up his fifty in 27 balls.
KKR needed 21 runs off the last over bowled by Yash Thakur (2/12) but they could score only 19 as Rinku hit two sixes and a four.
LSG thus finished third in the table with 17 points from 14 matches, sealing a back-to-back play-offs berth. Chennai Super Kings also ended with 17 points from 14 matches but they took the second spot with a better net run rate of +0.652 as against +0.284 of LSG.
Gujarat Titans and Chennai Super Kings will meet in the first Qualifier while LSG will play the Eliminator against the fourth-placed side.
The KKR opening duo of Jason Roy (45) and Venkatesh Iyer (24) showed the right intent, taking on Mohsin Khan and Naveen in the first two overs to race to 30 for no loss.
Roy then took LSG skipper Krunal to cleaners when he hit the left-arm spinner for three boundaries in a row.
From 61 for no loss, KKR lost the plot as the LSG spinners strangled them right after the powerplay when Iyer, Nitish Rana (8) and Roy got out for the addition of just 21 runs.
By then, KKR's slim hopes were gone and it was about playing for pride.
Leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi (2/23) was the pick of LSG bowlers, while Krunal and Krishnappa Gowtham also bagged one each.
Earlier, Nicholas Pooran held the LSG innings together with a counter-attacking fifty.
Pooran (58 off 30 balls) rebuilt the innings after LSG were precariously placed at 73/5 with all their top batters, including the in-form duo of Marcus Stoinis (0) and Krunal (9), getting out cheaply.
LSG struggled to break free early on with rookie new-ball bduo of Vaibhav Arora (2/30) and Harshit Rana (1/21 from three overs) setting the pace beautifully before spinners got into the act.
Old warhorse Sunil Narine (2/28) and Varun Chakravarthy (1/38) removed Krunal and Quinton de Kock (28) in successive overs to bring cheer to the KKR camp.
But, Pooran produced his counter-attacking display and smashed Chakravarthy for two fours and a six to start the recovery act.
Overall, Pooran slammed fives sixes and four boundaries in a 74-run (47 balls) partnership with Ayush Badoni (25).