Kolkata Knight Riders suffered a two-run defeat in their must-win IPL 2022 match against Lucknow Super Giants at DY Patil Stadium, Mumbai on Thursday. The defeat ended the two-time champions' IPL playoff hopes. But skipper Shreyas Iyer hailed the team's performance.
Chasing an improbable target of 211 runs against Lucknow Super Giants, Kolkata Knight Riders needed 21 runs in the last over. But they lost two wickets, those of Rinku Singh and Umesh Yadav to Marcus Stoinis, off the last two deliveries to fall short by a couple of runs.
Shreyas Iyer & Co. needed to beat the tournament debutants to keep their faint hopes of making the IPL playoffs. After the match, Iyer termed the match as "one of the best games of cricket" he has played, and conceded that he's "not feeling sad at all".
"The way we should our character and attitude was simply outstanding," Iyer added.
The 27-year-old also hailed Rinku Singh's effort with the bat. "I love the way Rinku got us till the end but unfortunately couldn't time it when two balls were remaining, he was really sad."
Rinku Singh scored 40 runs off 15 balls, which featured two fours and four sixes. He, along with Sunil Narine (21 off 7 not out), almost pulled off a stunning win. But Rinku departed in the final over, to a sensational one-handed catch by Evin Lewis in the penultimate over, when the equation was three off two.
"I was hoping he could finish the game for us and could have been the hero, but still played a fantastic knock and I am really happy for him," Iyer added.
The skipper also reflected on KKR's campaign.
"It was a volatile season for us, we started great but lost five games in a row and I personally feel we did a lot of chopping and changing, we had to do that because of the niggles and form, but we also got to know the players such as Rinku.
"The vibe has always been positive in the dressing room and we never hit the panic button. I have built a really good relationship with Baz (McCullum) and he is someone who is calm and composed even when the situation is going out of the way, you can go and talk to him at any point of the game.
"He's got that aura when he walks around the players and never judges the players, all of us are equal for him," he said.
KKR's campaign ended with six wins and eight defeats from 14 matches.
For Lucknow Super Giants, the win helped the debutants seal a playoff spot with nine wins in 14 matches.
Batting first, Lucknow Super Giants got off to a sluggish start, but the KL Rahul and Quinton de Kock shifted gears in spectacular fashion to post the highest-ever unbroken opening stand in IPL.
Quinton de Kock hit 140 not out off 70 balls with the help of ten fours and ten sixes, while KL Rahul was not out on 68 of 51 balls.
They are still in contention for a top-two finish -- depending on the result of the Rajasthan Royals' final league game against Chennai Super Kings.
Sanju Samson's Royals have 16 points from 13 matches, but they have a superior net run rate of +0.304, as against Giants' +0.251.