Punjab got off to a decent start as Prabhsimran Singh and Dhawan hit a few boundaries in quick succession. However, Harshit Rana brought Kolkata back in the game, having Prabhsimran (12) and Bhanuka Rajapaksa (0) caught behind in successive overs.
Liam Livingstone began with a bang, but was trapped leg before by Varun Chakaravarthy for 15 off 9 balls. Dhawan and Jitesh Sharma (21 of 18) added 53 for the fourth wicket before Sharma was caught behind off Chakaravarthy.
Dhawan hit nine fours and a six. He fell to his opposite number, trying to go after Nitish Rana. Sam Curran (4) perished cheaply to Suyash Sharma. A good cameo by Shahrukh Khan (21 not out off 8) ensured KKR had 180 to chase. Chakaravarthy finished with figures of 3/26.
In the chase, KKR lost Rahmanullah Gurbaz for 15 to Nathan Ellis. However, Jason Roy (38 off 24) and Nitish Rana (51 off 38) lifted Kolkata. Roy fell trying to sweep Harpreet Brar. Venkatesh Iyer struggled for 11 off 13 and eventually fell to Rahul Chahar (2/23).
Rana struck six fours and a six in his captain’s knock, but he too fell to Chahar, attempting a reverse-hit. At 124/4, PBKS were back in the game. Russell then took charge and turned the match in Kolkata’s favor. He slammed Curran for three sixes in the penultimate over. Russell was run out in the final over, but Rinku smashed the last ball of the match by Arshdeep Singh for a four to lift KKR past the winning line.
Speaking after the win, KKR captain Rana said, “When I was batting, I wanted to hold one end. Venky had a problem with his ankle so we were trying to get one big over here and there. 10 matches have gone, we were all waiting for that one Russell innings to come. He was one innings away, I kept backing him saying you have done a lot, and you will 100% win us a game. This pitch was a feel of home advantage as well.
On Rinku’s knock, he added, “I just keep telling him, believe in yourself because what you have achieved is something not many people ever will. When he was batting, the whole crowd was chanting 'Rinku, Rinku'. That is what he has earned this year.”
--By A Cricket Correspondent