When two teams owned by Bollywood superstars clash, you know you are in for an entertaining evening.
And Saturday was no different as Shah Rukh Khan witnessed some edge-of-the-seat action with his team, Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), pulling off a narrow two-run win against the Preity Zinta co-owned Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) in an Indian Premier League clash.
Chasing 165 at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, Kings XI seemed to be in control of the game till the 18th over, with captain K. L. Rahul scoring a 58-ball 74. It looked like it was a matter of time before Punjab clinched the tie to end its four-match losing streak.
However, things went horribly wrong as the side faltered in the last couple of overs. Needing 20 runs off 12 balls, KXIP lost two wickets — including Rahul — in the space of three balls in the 18th over bowled by Prasidh Krishna.
It came to a point when the side needed seven runs off the last delivery, and six to take the game to the Super Over, but Australian Glenn Maxwell missed out on a maximum by inches.
Things had looked promising for KXIP earlier with its openers Rahul and Mayank Agarwal forging a 115-run opening partnership. Rahul got a reprieve in the second over of his team’s run-chase as he was dropped by Andre Russell at mid-off.
A wicket at that juncture could have put Kings XI under pressure, but making optimum use of the opportunity, Rahul and Agarwal (56, 39b, 6×4, 1×6) went about their business. As the Punjab openers slowly took things in their stride, the Knight Riders looked hapless.
Even when Shubman Gill caught Agarwal at deep mid-wicket off Prasidh, it seemed to be too late. But the game took a dramatic turn after the exit of Nicholas Pooran. KXIP’s decision to promote youngster Prabhsimran Singh at No.4 – ahead of Maxwell – backfired. The young gun failed to handle the pressure and could manage just four runs off seven deliveries before being dismissed by Prasidh.
Batting first, KKR struggled till the 11th over, putting up only 63-3. However, captain Dinesh Karthik’s counter-attacking 58 off 29 balls and opener Gill’s 57 guided the team to a competitive total.
The seasoned Karthik had struggled with the bat in the last few outings and as the pressure mounted on him, the Knights captain brought up his half-century off just 22 deliveries. And it was the 82-run stand between him and Gill that set the tone for the Knight Riders.