Centurion Quinton de Kock and skipper KL Rahul put on the IPL’s highest ever opening stand of 210 to help Lucknow Super Giants book a play-off spot with a thrilling two-run win over Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League 2022 match on Wednesday.
Rahul made 68 off 51 deliveries but De Kock was unforgiving on the bowlers as he smashed New Zealand quick Tim Southee for four hits over the fence in a 27-run 19th over and then hit Andre Russell for four fours in the 20th over.
Later in the match, Rinku Singh nearly pulled off victory for KKR with his 15-ball 40 in the thrilling game. Rinku smashed a four and two sixes off Marcus Stoinis in Kolkata’s attempt to chase down 210 in Mumbai.
The left-handed batter eventually fell to a stunning one-handed catch by Evin Lewis on the penultimate ball as Kolkata bowed out of the tournament in their final league match of this season. LSG’s left-arm fast bowler Mohsin Khan also starred in the match and returned with figures of 3/20.
In what was a significant game for both sides, LSG officially qualified for the playoffs, keeping their hopes of finishing in the top two alive while KKR was the third team to be eliminated in the season after Mumbai Indians and defending champions Chennai Super Kings.
Here’s a look at who said what about the match:
Shreyas Iyer, Kolkata Knight Riders captain:
“I am not feeling sad at all. That was one of the best games of cricket I have played. The way we should our character and attitude was simply outstanding. I love the way Rinku got us till the end but unfortunately couldn’t time it when two balls were remaining, he was really sad. I was hoping he could finish the game for us and could have been the hero, but still played a fantastic knock and I am really happy for him.
“When we came in, I never thought it would play this way because it was dry and the grass wasn’t that wet. I thought there would be little help for the spinners but once they started going.. LSG took on the bowlers and got a par total. It was a do or die situation for us, even after losing two wickets in the powerplay our mindset was to go for the chase and take it close as possible and put them under pressure.
“It was a volatile season for us, we started great but lost five games in a row and I personally feel we did a lot of chopping and changing, we had to do that because of the niggles and form, but we also got to know the players such as Rinku. The vibe has always been positive in the dressing room and we never hit the panic button. I have built a really good relationship with Baz (McCullum) and he is someone who is calm and composed even when the situation is going out of the way, you can go and talk to him at any point of the game. He’s got that aura when he walks around the players and never judges the players, all of us are equal for him.”
KKR coach Brendon McCullum on Rinku Singh’s knock:
“Rinku is a player who KKR will invest in, no doubt, over the next few years and will see him really progress and maybe even challenge for higher honours in time. Not too many people are able to bat in the middle order and be able to try and pull games out of the fire like he has done for us on a couple of occasions.
“I am heading in a different direction with the challenge of being able to coach England in front of me. But I will be following all of the KKR boys and particularly Rinku as well. Really wish him all the best.
“I had a great time over the last few years, we didn’t get it done this year but I think we played some great cricket. Last year was an amazing story. I’ll follow this team moving forward and I know they are in really good hands in Shreyas (Iyer) as skipper and all the support staff as well. Watch out for KKR next year.”
Marcus Stoinis on his thoughts before bowling the last over”
“Initially, my feeling was I should’ve bowled through the middle. At the start of the over you play a bit to the conditions, a bit to the long boundary, a bit to what the batter wants to do. As things get worse, you go towards what you like to bowl and what works for you. That’s a learning for me. Feel more comfortable going for the straighter yorker. We’re always aiming at something - at the feet of the batters, at the stumps, at the cones in practice. We’re giving him Man of the Match (Lewis for the catch). The conference happens which is good, everyone wants to have an input. But you have to bowl what you believe is your best ball.”
KL Rahul, Lucknow Super Giants captain:
“I should probably get paid more for games like this. We had missed games like this, in this season. Haven’t been many games that have gone down to the last ball, maybe some which went to the last over. Happy to be on the other side. Could easily have been on the losing side and have gone back home thinking we lost due to some poor cricket. Good way to finish the last game of the league season. Credit to both teams to make such a brilliant game of cricket. Can’t say we held our nerves better because it was a matter of three runs.
“For Stoinis to execute those plans in the last two balls to get us the win, was brilliant. We batted well, started well with the bat. We knew that KKR would come hard at us, credit to them as they kept playing good shots. The only talk during timeouts was to back your best balls. The minute we went away from the plans was when it became easier for the batters. Good learning for us. Wins like these help to keep the team together. I was a spectator today in the last few overs.
“He (De Kock) was striking the ball so crisply and cleanly. What we lacked in some of the games were that the guys who were having good days weren’t winning us games. Guys getting 30s and 40s had to get us 80s and 90s, and that’s exactly what he did. Everyone has been brilliant, starting with Lewis, that catch was brilliant. He’s been struggling with tummy issues for the last few weeks, been in and out of the team. Never easy. Didn’t get to bat today. But that’s what you want to see from players, their desire to contribute in any way possible. Mohsin has been outstanding for us in the last few games. He’s got the skills but the key thing has been his knowledge of when to use those skills. He’ll be donning the Blue jersey soon the way he is going.”
Player-of-the-Match Quinton de Kock:
“I was a little bit cooked (after his innings) but it was a matter of getting some refreshments and get on with it I guess. It was a bit of frustration that came out (on his aggressive century celebrations). Felt really good to come out and do well. Was trying to keep it in, but when it came out, felt good. To be honest, not really (whether he thought the game would get so close). Obviously they played really well, assessed conditions well and came hard at us. I thought he (Stoinis) would defend it easily. But when the first three went, I thought the game was done for us. But that catch, turned things for us. As they say, good catches win matches.”
(With inputs from AFP)