IPL 2023, Kolkata Knight Riders Vs Punjab Kings: Varun Chakravarthy Gets Three, But Late Flurry Of Strikes Takes PBKS To 179-7

Varun Chakravarthy continued his fine run with three important wickets as Kolkata Knight Riders put up a tidy bowling show to restrict Punjab Kings to a below-par 179 for seven in their must-win IPL match in Kolkata on Monday.

On a day Sunil Narine (4-0-29-0) was decent, but went wicketless yet again, Chakravarthy relished the slow nature of the track where the odd ball was gripping to return with excellent figures of 4-0-26-3 after PBKS opted to bat.

It would have been worse for PBKS but the duo of Shahrukh Khan (21 not out; 8b) and Harpreet Brar (17 not out; 9b) brilliantly stepped it up in the last two overs that yielded 36 runs in a 40-run unbroken stand that came off just 16 balls.

Fresh from his last over heroics when he defended nine runs against Sunrisers Hyderabad, Chakravarthy removed the Punjab’s in-form duo of Liam Livingstone and Jitesh Sharma that seemed to have broke their back in the middle overs. 

Livingstone was looking at his destructive best, smashing Andre Russell for three fours in the fifth over.

Looking dangerous in his nine-ball 15, Livingstone was squared up by a perfect fast leg-break from Chakravarthy to be trapped plumb on his back-foot.

With Harshit Rana (3-0-33-2) grabbing two inside the powerplay, KKR had a perfect start inside the powerplay reducing PBKS to 58/3.

Skipper Shikhar Dhawan (57; 47b) anchored the show in a Virat Kohli-like innings the other day against Delhi Capitals but the lefthander could never take off and was dismissed by KKR skipper Nitish Rana.

Dhawan put together 53 runs partnership with Jitesh Sharma (21).

Rana smartly bowled Chakravarthy once inside the powerplay and then in the 8th, 13th and 17th over as he finished his quota, cleaning up Rishi Dhawan with a wrong one.

Rishi (19; 11b) had his intention clear smashing Chakravarthy for a six in the first ball, but the KKR spinner had the last laugh.

On an Eden wicket that looked on the drier side from the outside, seamer Rana gave KKR a perfect start, striking twice in two overs after Prabhsimran teed off in style with three boundaries off Arora in the first over.

Gurbaz took Prabhsimran’s catch on second attempt and in his next over Rana had comeback man Bhanuka Rajapaksa for a three-ball duck.

Things, however, still tilted in favour of PBKS as in-form Liam Livingstone counter-attacked Andre Russell with three back-to-back fours in a 19-run over.

PBKS looked on course with 51/2 after five overs, when Chakravarthy trapped Livingstone plumb on his back-foot in a crucial turnaround for KKR.

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