Cricket-De Kock, Rahul smash record opening IPL partnership

FILE PHOTO: Cricket - Second One Day International - South Africa vs India - Boland Park, Paarl, South Africa - January 21, 2022 India's KL Rahul throws the ball REUTERS/Sumaya Hisham

(Reuters) - South African Quinton de Kock and India's KL Rahul recorded the highest opening partnership in Indian Premier League history on Wednesday as their stand of 210 fired the Lucknow Super Giants to the playoffs with a two-run win over the Kolkata Knight Riders.

De Kock scored an unbeaten 140 off 70 balls and captain Rahul scored 68 not out from 51 balls as they became the first pair to bat 20 overs in an IPL innings.

Their opening stand surpassed the previous best of 185 by Jonny Bairstow and David Warner for Sunrisers Hyderabad against Royal Challengers Bangalore in 2019, while De Kock also set the highest individual score this season.

"I was a little bit cooked. But I had to get out there and get on with the job. It was just a bit of frustration that came out," said De Kock.

"The last couple of games just the way I was getting out. It was just a bit of release. I didn't know what I was thinking, I was just keeping it in."

Chasing a target of 211, Kolkata got off to a poor start with both openers out for single-digit scores. Nitish Rana (42) and captain Shreyas Iyer (50) helped them bounce back before Rinku Singh (40 from 15 balls) lit up their run chase.

Rinku and Sunil Narine (21 not out) hit 17 runs in the 19th over, leaving Kolkata to chase 21 runs in the final over.

Rinku piled pressure on Lucknow as he hit Marcus Stoinis for a four and two sixes in the first three balls of the final over, with Kolkata needing only three runs off the final two balls to win.

But Stoinis held his nerve as he dismissed Rinku on the fifth ball, with Evin Lewis taking a stunning one-handed catch.

The Australian all-rounder completed the job by taking out Umesh Yadav with a yorker on the final delivery as Lucknow joined fellow new franchise Gujarat Titans in the playoffs.

"There haven't been so many games that have gone to the last ball," said Rahul.

"Yes, they have gone to the last over but not so close. Happy to be on the other side, good way to finish the last game of the league stage."

(Reporting by Manasi Pathak in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis)

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