KOLKATA, India (CMC) — Former West Indies white-ball Captain Nicholas Pooran struck only his second half-century of the Indian Premier League season to surpass 350 runs, as Lucknow Super Giants secured their play-off spot with a nervy one-run win over Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR).
The left-hander top-scored with 50 from 30 balls at number seven, a Man of the Match effort which helped the visitors up to 176 for eight off their 20 overs at Eden Gardens on Saturday.
Opener Quinton de Kock (28), Prerak Mankad (26) and Ayush Badoni (25) played supporting roles while West Indies off-spinner Sunil Narine claimed two for 28 from his four overs.
In reply Rinku Singh smashed a daring, unbeaten 67 from 33 balls while England opener Jason Roy chimed in with 45 — but KKR found themselves just short.
They required 21 runs from the final over sent down by 24-year-old seamer Yash Thakur (2-31), and a brace of sixes and a four by Rinku off the last three deliveries put them close.
All-rounder Andre Russell again failed to spark, smacking a six but then perishing off the very next ball for seven in the 16th over, with 57 runs needed from 26 balls.
Narine never factored with the bat either, run out for one at the end of the 18th over.
The victory took Super Giants to 17 points in their final game, the same as second-place Chennai Super Kings but ending third due to their inferior net run rate.
KKR, meanwhile, faced a near impossible task in order to reach the play-offs, needing to win in 8.5 overs. Instead, they finished down the standings on 12 points with their eighth defeat of a very disappointing campaign.
De Kock and Mankad put on 41 for the second wicket but a cluster of wickets left the innings tottering on 73 for five at the start of the 11th over.
However, Pooran arrived to launch the recovery, putting on 74 for the sixth wicket with Badoni while lashing four fours and five sixes.
Roy then gave KKR momentum in the chase when he belted seven fours and a six in a 28-ball cameo during a 61-ball opening stand with Venkatesh Iyer (25).
Once the stand was broken, however, wickets tumbled regularly, and at 136 for seven at the end of the 18th over victory looked assured for Super Giants.
Rinku flexed his muscle though, blasting half-dozen fours and four sixes as the last two overs gushed 39 runs.
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