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Xtra Time Web Desk: KL Rahul played a captain’s knock (67 out of 55) as Punjab Kings defeated Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) by five wickets in the 2021 IPL match at Dubai International Stadium on Friday to remain in the running for the playoffs. The win moved Punjab to fifth place with 10 points from 12 matches. Knight Riders remain in fourth place with similar points, but have a superior run rate. Mumbai Indians who are also on 10 points have played one game less and can overtake both KKR and PBKS if they win the game against Delhi Capitals on Saturday.
Punjab Kings got off to a confident start thanks to the opening partnership of KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal (40 from 27 balls) yielding 70 runs. Mayank was zeroed out by KKR Captain Eoin Morgan. A late cameo from Sharukh Khan (22 from 9 balls) saw PBKS cruising home with three balls left.
Varun Chakravarthy put on another decent show with the ball (2/24) for the Knights taking two crucial wickets, including Mayank’s wicket. KKR felt the absence of a fifth bowler as Venkatesh Iyer made 30 runs in his 2.3 overs, although he did take Rahul’s wicket in the final over.
Previously, Venkatesh Iyer maintained his superb form in the second leg of IPL 2021 when he hit a smooth 67, while Nitish Rana produced a fiery 31 from 18 balls before Punjab Kings managed to stop KKR at 165 for seven. Invited to bat, the in-form KKR batsmen controlled the proceedings for much of their innings and had it not been an excellent death by spells from Mohammed Shami (1/23) and Arshdeep Singh (3/32), would KKR got a bigger score on the board.
Iyer and Rahul Tripathi (34 from 26 balls) lifted a 72-run stance and stroked the ball with ease, while Rana’s cameo was also crucial for KKR, as the run rate had taken a hit at that point after two quick wickets.
Arshdeep Singh (3/32) and Ravi Bishnoi (2/22) were the successful bowlers for Punjab.
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