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IPL 2023, KKR vs PBKS: Rinku, Russell star as Kolkata clinch another last-ball thriller

IPL 2023, Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) vs Punjab Kings (PBKS), Top Performances: Varun Chakravarthy’s 3-26, Rahul Chahar’s 2-23 and Andre Russell's 42 are the top performances. KKR beat PBKS and move to 5th place in points table.

IPL 2023, KKR vs PBKS, Top Performances: Andre Russell scored 42 off 23 and win KKR match against Punjab  | Walking wicket (Images_ ©BCCI_Twitter)
Russell scored 42 off 23; helped KKR clinch victory (Images: ©BCCI/Twitter)

Brief Scores KKR 185/5 (Rana 51, Russell 40, Chahar 2/23) beat PBKS 179/7 (Dhawan 57, Shahrukh 21, Varun 3/26) beat by 5 wickets.

Player Of The Match: Andre Russell (42 off 23)

In what was an important mid-table clash in the fag end of IPL 2023 league stage, the hosts Kolkata Knight Riders took on the Punjab Kings at the Eden Gardens on Monday. KKR just about stayed alive in the tournament thanks to a last ball win that made the table wide open again.

Kolkata Triumphs Over Punjab in an Epic Cricket Battle

Shikhar Dhawan won the toss and opted that his side Punjab Kings will bat first. Bhanuka Rajapaksa retuns to the playing XI in place of Matthew Short for PBKS while KKR remain unchanged with Jason Roy coming in as an impact player. PBKS had mixed start to their batting innings as they lost 3 wickets including that of dangerous Liam Livingstone and Bhanuka, but the visitors made 58 runs. Skipper Dhawan held one end scoring his half-century off 41 deliveries and his 53-run partnership with Jitesh Sharma gave PBKS a much-needed stability to their innings.

They lost their way in the middle-overs losing 4 wickets in just 5 overs and scoring 33 runs. But a sparkling finish by the duo of Harpreet Brar and Shahrukh Khan who scored 38 runs in 17 balls between them took PBKS to 179/7 in their 20 overs. KKR’s impact player Jason Roy yet again gave the team a great score 24-ball38 as the hosts made 52 in the power plays for losing Gurbaz wicket. Roy too perished while trying to up the ante. And it was the skipper who Nitish Rana who took KKR forward with a well-made half-century. KKR looked down and put after Rana’s dismissal with 56 needing off 28 deliveries, but the pair of Russell (40) and Rinku (21*) made sure the hosts reach the target on the last ball.

Talking Points; The return of Andre Russell

The talking point has to be the return to old ways of Andre Russell in the middle-overs. He along with Rinku had the role of finishing out matches which they finally did here at Eden Gardens. Rinku is having a dream tournament but for Russell, this was his first match-winning knock of the season.

Let us scan the key performances of the KKR vs PBKS game of IPL 2023

IPL 2023, KKR vs PBKS, Top Performances_ Varun Chakravarthy's 3-26 helped KKR beat Punjab _ Walking wicket (Images_ ©BCCI_Twitter)
Chakravarthy's 3-26 helped KKR beat Punjab (Images: ©BCCI/Twitter)
Varun Chakravarthy amongst the wickets once again

PBKS made breezy start to their batting innings as despite losing 2 wickets, they managed to score 50 in the first 5 overs. Livingstone started to shape well but Varun Chakravarthy got rid of him in his first over and just when the visitors were eyeing a big finish courtesy of a brewing partnership between Jitesh and Shikhar, Varun dismissed the former.

The mystery spinner then sent back the dangerous looking Rishi Dhawan for 11-ball 19 runs in his final over, finishing with a great figure of 3/26 from his 4 overs.

IPL 2023, KKR vs PBKS, Top Performances_ Rahul Chahar's 2-23 goes in vain as KKR beat PBKS _ Walking wicket (Images_ ©BCCI_Twitter)
Chahar's 2-23 goes in vain as KKR beat PBKS (Images: ©BCCI/Twitter)
Rahul Chahar comes back strong

If Varun Chakravarthy was the pick of KKR bowlers earlier in the match, it was the turn of the leg spinner Rahul Chahar to match him, when it was time for PBKS to bowl. The 23-year-old has had a rough tournament, managing to pick just 3 wickets in 10 games.

But here he made a strong comeback in what was a good pitch to bat, especially during the run-chase. He broke growing 41-run stand between the left-hand duo of Iyer and Rana by dismissing them both in space of 2 overs. Though it didn’t result in a PBKS win, but Chahar’s confidence will grow with this performance.

Andre Russell finally makes his presence

The big Jamaican all-rounder has had a subdued tournament with the bat thus far and largely has struggled to get going in this IPL. But in this crucial game, the all-rounder proved why he is regarded highly.

Having come at a stage where KKR needed 65 runs off 38 balls and on the back of a disappointing bowling performance earlier in the piece, Andre Russell struck a 42-ball 23 to ensure KKR go past the finish line. It included 3 maximums and we saw Russell of old in this game.

Whats’ Next and Points table

KKR move to 5th spot with this win and they face RR at home in 3 days’ time while PBKS stay put at 7th with 10 points. They will have to face DC twice both away and at home in a span of 4 days.

IPL 2023 Points Table

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