Medium pacer Harmeet Singh kept his composure as he bowled a tight final over helping Kings XI Punjab record a thrilling two-run win over Kolkata Knight Riders in an IPL match on Sunday.
Chasing a target of 135 on a tricky Eden pitch, KKR needed nine runs off the final over but medium pacer Harmeet gave away only six runs. Debabrata Das, who played a lovely cameo (35, 23 balls, 3x4, 1x6), failed to hit a boundary off the final delivery as home team ended on 132 as Kings XI won their second match of the tourney.
Debabrata, who played for KKR in first edition of IPL before being dumped during three subsequent seasons almost took his team to victory with some lusty blows after they were down in the dumps at 88 for six.
Along with Harmeet, India seamer Praveen Kumar bowled a brilliant penultimate over where only four runs were scored. Also spinners Piyush Chawla (3/18) and Bhargav Bhatt (2/22) should be lauded for sharing five wickets for only 42 runs in the eight overs bowled by them.
It was pity that KKR offie Sunil Narine's brilliant figures of five for 19 were undone by some indiscreet shot making on the part of home team batsmen - especially Manvinder Bisla and Yusuf Pathan.
On a track, where the spinners are getting fair amount of assistance, a target of 135 was always going to be difficult. While Jacques Kallis (1) was gone early - thanks to a brilliant catch by Paras Dogra, skipper Gautam Gambhir hit a flurry of boundaries on his way 22 before he offered a tame return catch to Dimitri Mascarenhas.
At 30 for two, in-form Bisla (27, 25 balls, 1x4, 1x6) and Manoj Tiwary (20, 27 balls, 1x4) added 43 runs for the third wicket and it looked KKR will coast home easily. However left-arm spinner Bhargav Bhatt angled one into Tiwary who was caught plumb in-front as KKR were 73 for three. Within another six runs, it was Bisla who played all over a Piyush Chawla delivery to be bowled.
Pathan tried a paddle sweep but the ball jumped off his pad straps to clip the bails. KKR went further down in the dumps as Shakib Al Hasan lobbed an easy catch to Gilchrist off Chawla's bowling as home team stuttered at 88 for six.
Earlier, Narine foxed Kings XI Punjab with a brilliant five-for that helped KKR restrict the visitors to 134 for nine in stipulated 20 overs.
Put into bat, Kings XI batsmen failed to read Narine's deliveries as the Trinidad spinner had figures of 4-0-19-5 to show for his efforts which also proved why KKR bought him for a handosme price of $700,000.
The Trinidad spinner after being introduced in the third over took two prized scalps of Adam Gilchrist (5) and an in-form Shaun Marsh (1) in two overs to dent the Kings XI progress.
Gilchrist along with his new opening partner Mandeep Singh started positively with the duo racing to 14 for no loss in two overs but Narine's spell (2-0-5-2) cost them dear as they were reduced to 21/2 in 4.2 overs.
Gilchrist tried to hit Narine across the line only to balloon it up as Manoj Tiwary at the short cover took an easy catch.
Narine then breached through Shaun Marsh's defence with a beauty that straightened after pitching.
The two dismissals meant that the Kings XI progressed at snail's pace before Mandeep Singh launched into Jaidev Unadkat handing him some rough treatment.
Kallis did a fine job, rather quietly, at the other end, conceding 11 from his three overs to further unsettle the visitors plan.
In between, Rajat Bhatia did an excellent job with his slow medium pace returning with two for 14 in the slog overs as the Kings XI boys struggled to find a partnership going.