Spirited Knight Riders pull off improbable two-run win

(IPLT20) Just when it looked like RCB had the game under control, some tight death bowling – and a special piece of fielding – by KKR stole it away from the Garden City franchise yesterday. In what turned out to be the catch that turned the match, Chris Lynn literally plucked the game out of thin air at the midwicket fence. The Australian fielder landed just inches from the boundary as he foiled AB de Villiers’ attempt to finish the game with a big hit.

Earlier, Virat Kohli won the toss and asked KKR to bat first. The decision did not bode well for his opposite number, Gautam Gambhir (0), who was out for his third consecutive duck this season. In fact, this was a first-ball duck for the left-hander, who was trapped leg-before by Mitchell Starc. Manish Pandey (5) also returned to the dugout soon after, failing to capitalise on the good run he has had in Pepsi IPL 2014 thus far; he got out off the bowling of Albie Morkel with the scorecard reading 10 for two in the second over.

It was up to the veteran Jacques Kallis and young Chris Lynn to resurrect the KKR innings. The pair did step up to the plate and pulled KKR out of a slump. With Lynn taking charge, Kallis played a more solid knock as they kept scoring at a fair clip. By the half-way stage, the initial setbacks were clearly a distant memory as both batsmen helped put up 82 for two by then.

However, just when it looked like KKR had got a leg up on RCB, they lost Lynn (45) off Varun Aaron. During his 31-ball stay, the Australian batsman struck three fours and three maximums. And two balls later, Aaron dealt a big blow by getting rid of the dangerous Yusuf Pathan (0), before he could make any impact on the scorecard. Predictably, KKR’s run-rate dipped during the next few overs, and they reached the three-figure mark only in the 14th over. Yuzvendra Chahal then dismissed Kallis (43) in the 16th over, leaving KKR on 107 for five.

Robin Uthappa (23) and Suryakumar Yadav then paired up and tried to up the scoring rate. While they were successful in adding 22 off just 11 balls for the sixth wicket, Uthappa fell to Aaron in the 18th over. Yadav(24*), however, hung around till the end of 20 overs to take KKR to 150 for seven. His late-overs partner, Vinay Kumar (4), was dismissed by Starc off the last ball of the innings.

For RCB, Varun Aaron, was the chief tormentor. Bowling frequently in the 145 kph range, the pacer from Jharkhand picked up three wickets for 16 runs in his four overs.

In response, the RCB openers – Parthiv Patel and Yogesh Takawale – gave their team a great start. The pair put together 67 runs in 7.4 overs, of which 40 came off Takawale’s bat. The 29-year-old Maharashtra batsman, who was making his IPL debut, took charge of the situation. With Patel providing him great support, Takawale kept the scorecard ticking at a decent rate, until Kallis trapped him leg-before. Patel (21) fell shortly thereafter, caught by Lynn off the bowling of Vinay Kumar.


Skipper Kohli and Yuvraj Singh then added 55 runs for the third wicket. By the end of their liaison – which ended with Kohli’s (31) dismissal off Narine in the 16th over – the RCB run-rate was well over the seven-and-a-half mark. Yuvraj Singh (31) continued to lead the run-chase, until Umesh Yadav sent him back to the dugout to add drama to the proceedings.

Then, with RCB needing nine runs off the last over, Vinay Kumar took the ball for KKR. After Albie Morkel and AB de Villiers took singles off the first three deliveries of the over, the run-chase equation read six off three balls. And what happened next can only be described as the catch of the season so far – with the hard-hitting de Villiers striking what seemed like a maximum to midwicket, Chris Lynn plucked an incredible catch, just inches from the ropes. After that, Morkel got home for a quick two off the next ball, leaving the equation at four from one ball. And then, much to the delight of KKR, the final ball yielded just one run, to hand them a famous two-run win.

Man of the Match: Chris Lynn for his quick-fire 45 and the spectacular catch that won the match



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