Fifties from skipper Nitish Rana and Rinku Singh led Kolkata Knight Riders to a six-wicket win over Chennai Super Kings and stay alive in the Indian Premier League playoff race on Sunday.
Kolkata kept Chennai down to 144-6, a total they overhauled riding on a key stand of 99 between Rinku (54) and Rana (57 not out) in Chennai.
Spinners Varun Chakravarthy and Sunil Narine took two wickets each to set up victory as Kolkata jumped a spot to seventh in their attempt to finish the league stage on top four for a play-off berth.
Four-time winners Chennai remain second in the 10-team table led by holders Gujarat Titans and on course for the play-offs.
Kolkata looked in trouble at 33-3 after Chennai pace bowler Deepak Chahar’s third strike to send back Jason Roy, before the left-handed pair of Rinku and Rana guided the team home with nine balls to spare.
Rinku, who became an IPL sensation with his five sixes off the last five balls to conjure up a miracle win for Kolkata last month, struck his second fifty of the season before being run out. He was the player of the match eventually.
Rana made most of a dropped catch on 18 to reach his fifty and stood firm to hit the winning runs.
Four-time winners Chennai started strongly but slipped from 61-1 to 72-5 in the space of 19 balls before Shivam Dube revived the innings with his unbeaten 48.
Dube kept up the fight in his 34-ball knock laced with three sixes but it was superstar and skipper M.S. Dhoni who brought the house down in his team’s last league game at M.A. Chidambaram Stadium.
Dhoni, who many suspect is playing his final IPL, walked in to a deafening roar as he faced four balls including a wide and no-ball on which he was bowled but ended on two not out.
In the first match of the day, skipper Faf du Plessis and Glenn Maxwell helped Royal Challengers Bangalore boost their play-off chances with a 112-run rout of Rajasthan Royals.
Du Plessis made 55 and Maxwell smashed a 33-ball 54 to guide Bangalore to 171-5 before their bowlers then skittled Rajasthan for 59 runs in Jaipur.
CSK were assured a playoff spot if they had won but now the wait continues.