De Kock century inspires Lucknow Super Giants to narrow win over Kolkata Knight Riders

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Quinton de Kock's incredible 140 was only just enough as the Lucknow Super Giants edged to victory against the Kolkata Knight Riders on Wednesday, securing their place in the playoffs.

An astonishing contest came down to the last ball, and just as it looked as though KKR would reach the improbable target of 211, two wickets from the final two balls from Marcus Stoinis (3-23) sealed a dramatic two-run win for LSG.

De Kock and KL Rahul became only the fourth opening pair to bat first and go through an Indian Premier League innings without dismissal as they put on 210-0 from their 20 overs, the highest unbeaten opening partnership in IPL history.

The South African's score of 140 from 70 balls was the third-highest in IPL history, after Chris Gayle's 175 not out for Royal Challengers Bangalore against Pune Warriors India in 2013, and Brendon McCullum's 158 not out for KKR against RCB in 2008.

However, Rinku Singh's 40 from 14 balls looked to have put KKR on the verge of victory, needing just three from the final two deliveries, only for Rinku and then Umesh Yadav to both fall to Stoinis.

Rahul was steady in his 68 from 51 balls, but the fireworks came from De Kock, particularly near the end of the innings, hitting four sixes in the 19th over off the bowling of Tim Southee (0-57).

The Knight Riders' response could not have got off to a more contrasting start, with Venkatesh Iyer (0) and Abhijeet Tomar (4) both out early on to Mohsin Khan.

Nitish Rana's 44 from 22 balls showed some fight, before Shreyas Iyer (50 from 29) and Sam Billings (36 from 24) put their team in a position where victory actually looked possible, but the former spooned a Stoinis delivery into the air and into the waiting hands of Deepak Hooda just after reaching his half-century.

Rinku and Sunil Narine (21 not out) had one last go at reviving hope for KKR and very nearly managed it, only for Stoinis to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat with the last two deliveries to secure a vital win for the Super Giants, sealing their place in the playoffs, while KKR miss out.

De Kock wows the crowd

The fans could not believe what they were seeing as De Kock fired the ball to all sides of the ground with almost every shot imaginable.

The 29-year-old hit 20 boundaries in all (10 sixes and 10 fours) and, having only scored 362 runs from his previous 13 innings in the IPL this season, nudged himself over 500 and into third-place behind Jos Buttler (627) and Rahul (527) on the leaderboard for most runs.

So near yet so far for Rinku

When Rinku arrived at the crease his team still needed 69 runs from 26 balls. When he went back to the pavilion having hit a Stoinis delivery to Evin Lewis for a tremendous catch, his team were only three from victory.

It wasn't to be, but his two fours and four sixes from just 15 balls along with Narine's 21 from seven gave their team hope when there had previously been very little.

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