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Maxwell comes up just short for Kings XI

Glenn Maxwell came close to hitting a six off the last ball to take the game into a super over but his boundary fell just short of a maximum as his Kings XI Punjab team again found themselves falling just short, losing by two runs to Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL.

Needing 14 off the last over, Maxwell’s renowned finishing made victory possible for Kings XI as they chased down the Knight Riders’ 6-164, even more so when he struck a boundary off the second ball of Sunil Narine’s final over.

Yet Narine’s canny bowling ensured that six were still needed off his last ball to tie the scores, and Maxwell’s final blast over the covers landed just inside the boundary.

Kolkata had earlier recovered well from a slow start through captain Dinesh Karthik’s flashy 29-ball knock of 58 to post their beatable target.

Punjab were absolutely cruising at 1-136, needing just 29 runs off the last four overs but Kolkata stormed back as fast bowler Prasidh Krishna took 3-29 and Narine 2-28 to hand Punjab their fifth consecutive loss.

“Sunil Narine stands up for us a lot of the time. He is calm, he is always looking to find the best way to contribute to the team,” said Karthik.

Halfway through the league stage, Punjab have only a solitary victory from seven games and are bottom of the table, while Kolkata are in the upper half.

Captain Lokesh Rahul and Mayank Agarwal, who made 56, gave Punjab a solid start of 114 but once Krishna provided the opening in the 15th over by dismissing Agarwal, Punjab’s brittle top-order batting line-up yet again slipped against some quality bowling.

Krishna took the game away from Punjab in the 19th over by claiming two wickets, including the crucial dismissal of Rahul, who top-scored with 74 off 58 balls after getting dropped in only the second over by Andre Russell.

“I have no answers, we just need to keep coming harder in the next seven games,” said Rahul, who has been the lone batting star for Punjab with three half-centuries and a century.

Kolkata struggled to 2-60 after 10 overs before Karthik ensured he had enough runs on the board to defend by hitting eight fours and two sixes.

Karthik dominated the 82-run, fourth-wicket stand with Shubman Gill, who made a defiant 57 off 47 balls before both were run out in the death overs.

In the later game in Dubai, Virat Kohli produced a masterclass, hammering an unbeaten 90 off 52 balls as his Royal Challengers Bangalore side amassed 4-169 and then reduced the Chennai Super Kings to 8-132 to run out easy 37-run winners.

Bangalore’s Aaron Finch made only two before captain Kohli came to the crease while the in-form Shane Watson was dismissed for 14 in the Super Kings’ run chase.

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