PBKS beat KKR in game marred by flickering floodlights, rain

By, Mohali
Apr 01, 2023 09:43 PM IST

Rajapaksa (32-ball 50) and pacer Arshdeep (3/19) led Punjab’s efforts, but KKR were also undone by a long stoppage before rain.

The lights did go out on their home turf on Saturday evening, followed by a rain break, but it was Punjab Kings who emerged unscathed as they began their 2023 IPL campaign with a seven-run win on the rain rule (DLS) against Kolkata Knight Riders.

PBKS players in action(IPL)
PBKS players in action(IPL)

Rain was forecast before the first IPL tie at the IS Bindra PCA Stadium for three years and it arrived late in the game. But if KKR feel they didn’t get a fair chance to chase down PBKS’ imposing 191/5, it wasn’t due to nature but the faulty floodlights. They went off due to a technical glitch just when they were stepping out to begin the chase, forcing an almost half-an-hour stoppage.

Despite the rain threat, the match would probably have ended without DLS intervention but for the floodlights flickering with bulbs across many towers not coming on. A Punjab Cricket Association official called it an “unexpected technical issue”. Rain pushed the game beyond the scheduled 7.30pm close with KKR stuck on 146/7, needing 46 runs from 24 deliveries with Shardul Thakur and Sunil Narine at the crease.

PBKS raised an impressive total after KKR’s new skipper Nitish Rana put them in. They overcame the sluggish pitch and outfield following Friday’s rain. Skipper Shikhar Dhawan made a 29-ball 40 after fellow opener Prabhsimran Singh provided a rapid start (23 off 12b).

But it was Sri Lanka’s Bhanuka Rajapaksa, their No 3, who took control and hit an excellent 32-ball 50. The left-handed batter hit five fours and two sixes and his 30-ball half-century helped the home team get to 100 at the halfway mark.

Jitesh Sharma (21 – 11b) and Sikandar Raza (16 – 13b) helped cross the 150-mark before England all-rounder Sam Curran, the costliest IPL buy ever at 18.5 crore, finished on an unbeaten 17-ball 26. Curran also removed KKR all-rounder Andre Russell (35 – 19b) in the 15th over to peg back the chase.

Umesh Yadav (1/27) was steady, having come into this IPL in good form while there were some questions on Varun Chakravarthy. The spinner would be pleased with the way he beat and bowled Dhawan, who didn’t read the one which spun in from leg-stump.

Still, disciplined bowling kept PBKS ahead. Left-arm pacer and local man Arshdeep Singh led from the front, returning impressive figures of 3-0-19-3. He removed Mandeep Singh with his first ball, then Anukul Roy as well as Venkatesh Iyer, used as the Impact Player by KKR. Dismissing Iyer was on 34 (28b) in the 16th over, four deliveries after Russell fell, tilted the game in favour of PBKS.

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    Shalini Gupta is a member of the Chandigarh sports team and has been a sports journalist for 10 years. She mainly writes on cricket.

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