Kolkata Knight Riders 150-7 (Lynn 45) beat
Royal Challengers Bangalore 148-5 by two runs
Indian Premier League 2014, Sharjah
The Kolkata Knight Riders snatched a two-run victory over the Royal Challengers Bangalore from the jaws of defeat in the closest game so far of the Indian Premier League 2014.
Chris Lynn (45) and Jacques Kallis (43) top scored for Kolkata Knight Riders and Varun Aaron took three wickets as they posted a score of 150 for seven that always looked a little light.
In reply, Bangalore made a fast start but faltered in the closing stages before Ranganath Vinay Kumar restricted the Challengers to six runs in the final over when they needed nine to win, aided by a superb catch from Lynn to remove AB de Villiers.
That came when the South African was trying to win the game in one hit but it proved to be the key moment in the match.
Up unti that point, Bangalore appeared to be cruising to victory, having started strongly, only to be denied in the end.
After losing the toss, Kolkata captain Gautam Gambhir suffered the ignominy of a third consecutive duck and this one, after he was trapped in front by a Mitchell Starc, was a golden one.
It got little better for his side when Manish Pandey (5) pushed half-heartedly at Albie Morkel and was easily caught by Virat Kohli close in on the off-side before the experience of Jacques Kallis and the energetic Lynn helped Kolkata recover.
Kallis struck two fours and a six to make 43 in 41 balls as Lynn hit three fours and three sixes - including one off Muttiah Muralitharan that crashed into the big screen - on his way to 45 in 31 deliveries.
The pair put on 80 together before Lynn drilled Varun Aaron into the hands of de Villiers at long-off.
Yusuf Pathan, given time to play himself in, decided to take on Aaron from just his second ball, mistiming his shot to be caught by Kohli and when Kallis was caught in the deep by Muralitharan off the impressive Yuzvendra Chahal, the Knight Riders were 107 for five.
The leg-spinner once again showed excellent control and his variations troubled the Kolkata batsman. In 12 overs in the tournament so far, the only boundary he has conceded came today when Starc caught Lynn but carried the ball over the rope.
He finished with figures of one for 26 while Aaron claimed the Purple Cap - although not for long - with a haul of three for 16 by removing Robin Uthappa (22 in 18 balls).
Starc, who started things off with a wicket in his first over, ended the innings by having Vinay Kumar caught by Morkel for four. The Australian bagged two for 33 and Morkel one for 21.
Suryakumar Yadav played some inventive strokes to finish unbeaten on 24 in 18 balls with a four and a six to his name.
With Chris Gayle still unable to play due to his sore back and Nic Maddinson out of the tournament with a broken finger, Bangalore brought Yogesh Takawale in to open alongside Parthiv Patel and the pair quickly put their side in the ascendency.
Patel was the more aggressive at first before Takawale got into his stride with a pair of leg-side boundaries off Umesh Yadav and Morne Morkel, followed by an edge between wicket-keeper and slip tha also raced to the fence, as did another clip to mid-wicket.
And after Sunil Narine's first over kept the batsmen to just one run, the onslaught continued when Takawale smacked Morkel over long-off for four and then guided him over third man for another boundary. The quicker Morkel bowled it, the quicker it disappeared to the fence as Bangalore put Kolkata under huge pressure.
Takawale then pulled the South African over mid-wicket to end the Powerplay with Bangalore on a healthy 49 without loss - Kolkata had been 42 for two.
One ball later, the 50 came up with Patel dismissively pulling Vinay Kumar for a four and it was not until the eighth over that Kolkata could celebrate - in muted fashion - a wicket. Takawale's knock of 40 in 28 balls came to an end when he walked across his stumps and played all round a straight ball to be trapped in front by Kallis.
After Virat Kohli defended the first ball he faced, the first ball of the next over by Vinay Kumar had Patel (21 in 19 balls) in all sorts of trouble and he lobbed a simple catch to Lynn. Unsurprisingly, Bangalore opted for a stragic time out at this point as they tried to lessen the impact of Kolkata's double strike.
At the halfway stage they were 77 for two - five runs behind where Kolkata had been after 10 overs.
The shackles were soon broken when Yuvraj Singh took on Yadav and hit Bangalore's first six of the evening, high over the leg-side and Kohli then also picked up a leg-side boundary for good measure.
Once more, Gambhir turned to Narine as his method of controlling the flow of runs, but it still looked as if Kolkata were short of enough runs to really worry the batsmen, particularly with Morkel (0-34) bowled out early.
Two cover drives from Kohli that would have graced any format of the game in any era brought up Bangalore's century in the 13th over and by the end of the 15th over they had reached 116 for two and were seemingly in cruise control.
However, he went little further as Narine (1-17) snuck one through his defences to bowl him one ball after bowling a waist-high full toss that was dispatched. That wicket put Narine back at the top of the Purple cap rankings, moving ahead of Aaron by virtue of a better economy rate.
De Villiers and Yuvraj were content enough to work the singles and their side needed 25 to win from the final three overs, and then 18 from the final two after a good 18th over from Vinay Kumar which had followed Kallis letting just three go from the 17th.
De Villiers then hit the first ball of the penultimate over, bowled by Yadav, for four, and the bowler then let slip a chest-high full toss at Yuvraj. From the next ball, however, Yuvraj was caught by Kallis in the deep having made 31 in 34 balls as Kolkata kept themselves in it.
Nine runs were required from the final over after Yadav was able to prevent de Villiers from keeping the strike, although Vinay Kumar had the dangerous Albie Morkel taking strike against him.
The two South Africans managed singles from the first three balls before de Villiers rocked back, hammered the ball into the leg-side only for Lynn to pull off an astonishing catch on the mid-wicket boundary.
Arching backwards, he took the ball in mid-air but kept himself inside the field of play as he landed. It was all the more impressive considering he had lost his balance with the ball heading towards him, forcing him to leap backwards from a less than ideal position.
Morkel picked up two from the penultimate ball to leave the Challengers needing four to win and three to force a Super Over but he could pick up only one and the Knight Riders had stolen a victory that they never looked like winning until almost the very end.
Vinay Kumar finished with two for 26, Kallis one for 26 and Yadav one for 40.
© Cricket World 2014