Despite a spirited effort, our boys went down to Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) by five wickets in a pulsating TATA Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 match at the Eden Gardens on May 8.

Toss In Our Favour:

Our skipper, Shikhar Dhawan, won the toss and decided to bat first. We made just one change to the playing XI as Bhanuka Rajapaksa came in place of Matthew Short.

Early Setback:

Prabhsimran got us off to a great start as he slammed three boundaries off Vaibhav Arora in the first over. Dhawan hit Harshit Rana for two scintillating fours in the following over.

Our opening batters forged a 21-run stand before Prabhsimran departed for 12. We soon succumbed to another blow as Bhanuka Rajapaksa, who was in at number 3, perished to Harshit.

Liam Livingstone’s Counter-Attack:

Batting at number four, Liam Livingstone got off to a quick-fire start. He smacked Andre Russell for three consecutive fours. Our captain hit another boundary to conclude the fifth over with 19 runs.

Livingstone and Dhawan added 24 runs for the third wicket before Varun Chakaravarthy trapped the England all-rounder.

Jitesh Sharma Stands Tall:

Jitesh Sharma and Dhawan established a crucial partnership for the fourth wicket. The flamboyant pair stitched a 53-run stand to power us to a good total.

However, Jitesh fell to Chakaravarthy in the 13th over.

Skipper’s Incredible Milestone:

Dhawan continued his brilliant knock as he notched up his fifty from 42 balls. With this half-century, Dhawan became only the third batter to hit 50 fifties in the TATA IPL.

But we suffered a massive blow as KKR captain Nitish Rana dismissed Dhawan for a 47-ball 57. His impressive knock included nine fours and one six.

Sensational Finish At The Death:

Our accomplished all-rounder, Rishi Dhawan, played an excellent cameo. He smashed 19 runs off 11 balls to give impetus to our innings.

After his dismissal, Shahrukh Khan and Harpreet Brar clobbered the Knight Riders to all parts of the ground. The duo forged a 40-run standoff in 16 balls out of which 36 runs came off the final two overs.

Eventually, Shahrukh’s unbeaten 8-ball 21 and Brar’s 17 off nine balls helped us post a competitive total of 179/7.

Nathan Ellis’ Immediate Impact:

Ahead of the chase, we brought in Nathan Ellis as our impact player in place of Rajapaksa.

The Australian speedster proved his credentials. He provided us with our first breakthrough in his first over by dismissing the KKR opener, Rahmanullah Gurbaz.

Harpreet Brar Strikes Early:

Our left-arm spinner, Harpreet Brar, bagged the massive wicket of Jason Roy in the eighth over. The KKR opener departed after making 38 runs.

Rahul Chahar’s Impressive Spell:

Our star leg-spinner, Rahul Chahar, broke the 51-run stand as he got the better of Venkatesh Iyer.

Chahar continued his brilliant spell as he sent Rana back to the pavilion in the 16th over. He finished with figures of 4-0-23-2.

So Close, Yet So Far:

With 56 runs needed off 28 balls, Andre Russell walked out to bat. The hard-hitting batter put pressure on our bowlers.

Russel hit 42 runs off only 23 balls. He stitched a 54-run partnership with Rinku Singh to take the hosts closer to victory.

Dhawan gave the final over to Arshdeep to defend six runs. Our left-arm pacer held nerves of steel and fought till the end. The Knight Riders needed two runs off the last ball. However, Rinku pulled off the nail-biter with a five-wicket victory.

While we suffered a setback, we trust our boys to bounce back stronger.

Brief Scores: Punjab Kings 179/7 in 20 overs (Shikhar Dhawan 57, Shahrukh Khan 21*; Varun Chakaravarthy 3/26) lost to Kolkata Knight Riders 182/5 in 20 overs (Nitish Rana 51, Andre Russell 42; Rahul Chahar 2/23) by five wickets.

Player of the Match: Andre Russell.