Quinton de Kock batted a sensational hundred and shared a record-breaking opening score with skipper KL Rahul as Lucknow defeated Super Giants Kolkata Knight Riders by two runs in an IPL thriller for the final ball to seal their play-off spot in Navi Mumbai on Wednesday. De Kock gave a masterclass batting to an unbeaten 140 from 70 balls as he and Rahul (68 not out 51) shot LSG to 210 without a loss, the highest opening score 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 too much of a task for the lower order. Their innings ended at 208 for eight in 20 overs.
Just when it looked like KKR was down and out, Sunil Narine (21 not out) and Rinku Singh (40 out of 15) started knocking the LSG bowlers over to rekindle the hopes of the dugout .
KKR needed 38 runs from the last two overs and both brought the comparison down to 21 from the last over.
Rinku came up with a pair of sixes and a four to make it five of the last three balls, but he fell on a special one-handed catch from Evin Lewis to bring LSG back into play.
Needing three from the last ball, Marcus Stoinis landed a yorker to sack Umesh Yadav and help his team win a humdinger.
The loss knocked KKR out of the competition, while LSG, who had lost their last two games, moved back into the top two with the win.
Previously, Rahul and de Kock got the size of the wicket in the power play, reaching 44 without a loss, before showing off their wide range of strokes en route to the third-highest standings in tournament history.
The South African hit 10 sixes and as many fours in his whirlwind innings, while Rahul collected four sixes and three fours in his 51-ball 68 not out. De Kock, who was dropped by Abhijeet Tomar off Umesh Yadav in the third over, made KKR pay heavily by taking the season’s highest score. His memorable innings was also the third highest individual score in tournament history.
The South African was in his element, crushing the spinners and pacers with equal disdain.
He used the pull shot against the faster bowlers and was at his most innovative against seasoned spin duo Sunil Narine and off-colored Varun Chakaravarthy.
Of the sixes he hit, De Kock’s reverse sweep of Narine stood out. Slightly short of the pacers, de Kock was happy to put it away over a deep square leg area.
De Kock hit his hundred in the 18th with a cut off shot from Russell and the innings meant a lot to him, something evident in his celebration to his knees.
The southpaw wasn’t in the mood to quit even after hitting three digits. Tim Southee was bad at the death-overs as he fed ball after ball into the slot for De Kock to deposit it in the stands.
His 19th over yielded no less than 27 runs, with De Kock finding the limit at will.
Rahul watched De Kock’s breathtaking knock from the best seat in the house. The skipper didn’t have much to do in the slog overs, but he also played some superb shots en route into his third half-century of the season.
Rahul also completed 500 runs in the tournament for the fifth season in a row. PTI KKR bowlers leaked 88 runs in the last five overs, with Southee and Russell proving to be the most expensive bowlers.