Records tumbled as Lucknow Super Giants put on a masterclass at the D Y Patil stadium in Navi Mumbai against the Kolkata Knight Riders on Wednesday night. That they managed to get through an entire twenty overs with their opening pair intact -- a first in the history of the Indian Premier League -- was the stuff that legends are made of.
When Kolkata began their chase by losing a wicket even before a single run had been scored, showed the gulf in class between the two teams -- or so it seemed.
The events that transpired over the next 19 overs were nothing short of miraculous as Kolkata embarked on a high-risk, do-or-die, mission to salvage the game and came within a whisker of pulling off one of the greatest victories in the history of this format.
After the remarkable exploits of the KKR middle-order stars in the form of Nitish Rana (42), Shreyas Iyer (50) and Sam Billings (36), it was the turn of an unsung hero in the form of Rinku Singh to take over the mantle in the closing stage of the game.
He played the role of a 'finisher' for KKR for the most part, with one setback -- he was unable to finish the job at hand.
When Singh arrived at the crease, the team has just lost Iyer and Billings in quick succession. Singh immediately got into work mode, smashing a four off Mohsin Khan off the second delivery that he faced.
While all eyes were on his strike partner Andre Russell, who eventually ended up departing cheaply for 5 off 11 balls, Singh went about his business, hitting boundaries in all directions.
Fast forward to the final over and Kolkata were in need of 21 runs from 6 balls.
As Marcus Stoinis ran in to bowl the first delivery of that fateful over, the odds were heavily stacked against Kolkata.
Apparently, Singh had other ideas and hammered a four off the very first delivery before hitting two back-to-back sixes that changed the game on its head.
From 21 runs off 6 balls, the equation had now been reduced to 5 off 3 balls.
The next delivery was pitched in short and Singh pulled it away to the outfield and ran hard -- getting two for his efforts.
With a mere 3 runs needed from two balls, there was a final twist in the tale as Stoinis delivered the penultimate ball of the match -- a length ball that Singh swung at, but did not quite get the timing right.
The ball launched into the air and initially seemed to be falling into a safe spot before Evin Lewis ran in from deep backward point to complete a spectacular one-handed catch to dismiss Singh.
Umesh Yadav was the new man in, tasked with hitting the winning runs with just one ball to play. He was completely outfoxed by a sublime yorker that uprooted his stumps and handed Lucknow the win by a mere two run margin.
Rinku's remarkable 40 off 15 balls was in vain as Kolkata were knocked out of the competition, but in the final over, he had given KKR fans genuine belief in a remarkable comeback.