Quinton de Kock scored a thrilling century and shared a record opening stand with skipper KL Rahul as the Lucknow Super Giants sealed their play-off spot by beating Kolkata Knight Riders by two runs in the last ball IPL thriller on Wednesday.
De Kock gave a batting masterclass of 140 not out off 70 balls as he and Rahul (68 not out off 51 balls) beat LSG by 210 runs without loss, the highest opening stand in IPL history.
It was a steep chase but KKR stayed in the game through Nitish Rana (42) and captain Shreyas Iyer (50) but it was a big task for the lower order. Their innings ended at 206 for eight in 20 overs.
While KKR looked down and out, Sunil Narine (21 not out) and Rinku Singh (40 off 15 balls) started destroying LSG bowlers around the field to revive the hopes of dug out.
KKR needed 38 runs in the last two overs and they both brought down the equation to 21 in the last over.
Rinku hit five sixes and a four off the last three balls but was caught by a special one from Evin Lewis to bring LSG back into the game.
When three were needed in the final over, Marcus Steinis got off the yorker, knocked out Umesh Yadav and helped his team win the Hamdinger.
The defeat knocked KKR out of the competition, while LSG, who had lost their last two matches, returned to the top two with a win.
Earlier, Rahul and De Kock got the wicket measure in the powerplay, reaching 44 not out before flaunting their wide strokes on their way to the third highest stand in the history of the tournament.
The South African hit 10 sixes and four more in his whirlwind innings, where Rahul collected four sixes and three fours in his 68 off 51 balls.
De Kock, who was dropped by Abhijit Tomar off Umesh Yadav in the third over, paid the KKR a lot for his highest score of the season. His memorable innings was also the third highest individual score in the history of the tournament.
The South African destroyed spinners and pacers with equal hatred in his material.
He used pool shots against fast bowlers and was his innovative best against the spin duo of Sunil Narine and off-color Varun Chakraborty.
De Kock’s reverse sweep of the six he hit was Narine’s. No less than the pacers, De Kock is happy to have it in the deep square leg area.
De Kock reached his century with a cut from Russell in the 16th over and the innings meant a lot to him, which was visible through the celebration of his knees.
Even after reaching three figures, Dakshinapa was not in the mood to stop. Tim Southee was weak in the death over as he fed ball after ball into the slot to get De Kock to the stand.
In his 19th over, De Kock found the desired boundary and gave away 27 runs.
Rahul saw De Cock’s suffocating knock from the best seat of the room. The captain didn’t have much to do in the slog over but he also played some great strokes on his way to the third half of the season.
Rahul also completed 500 runs in the tournament for the fifth consecutive season. PTI KKR bowlers leaked 88 runs in the last five overs and Saudi and Russell proved to be the most expensive bowlers.