Jonny Bairstow slammed an unbeaten 108 while Shashank Singh shone with 68 not out as Punjab Kings completed a record chase of 262 to secure an eight-wicket win over Kolkata Knight Riders in an absolute run-fest in Match 42 of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 witnessed by 55,767 fans at the Eden Gardens on Friday.

After openers Phil Salt and Sunil Narine slammed rollicking half-centuries while sharing an opening partnership of 138 runs in 10.2 overs to propel KKR to a mammoth 261/6, Prabhsimran Singh laid the foundation with a quick fifty, before Bairstow and Shashank dished out sensational knocks as PBKS now own the record for highest successful chase in T20 history.

For Bairstow, this was a much-needed second IPL century, with his 108 coming off 48 balls and aided by eight fours and nine sixes after being dropped due to poor form. Friday’s knock boosts his chances of entering England’s squad for the T20 World Cup.

Shashank’s whirlwind 68 not out came off 28 balls, laced with two fours and eight sixes. Amidst the carnage, Sunil Narine was still at his economical best, with figures of 1-24. The win now takes PBKS to eighth place in the points table.

With the ball coming nicely on the bat, PBKS hit a whopping 24 sixes in their chase, the most maximums coming in an IPL innings. Overall, 42 sixes were hit in the match, which is the most maximums hit in a men’s T20 match.

Chasing 262, Bairstow got off the mark by mistiming a drive off Dushmantha Chameera in the opening over. Impact player Prabhsimran Singh flicked and upper-cut Harshit Rana for a brace of sixes in the second over, before taking two fours and as many sixes off Chameera in the next over.

The introduction of Anukul Roy and Sunil Narine didn’t do much to stop the boundary flow as Prabhsimran got his fifty in just 18 balls with a swept six. Bairstow hit three fours and two sixes against Anukul Roy in the last over of Power-play, before Prabhsimran was run out on the final ball as PBKS ended the phase at 93/1.

But Bairstow continued to unleash carnage on KKR’s bowlers, getting his fifty off 23 balls by slogging Varun Chakravarthy over long-off for six on the fifth ball of the ninth over. From overs 10-13, Bairstow blasted seven boundaries, despite losing Rilee Rossouw to Narine.

Shashank came in to hit two sixes and a four, followed by Bairstow reaching his century in just 45 balls off Harshit Rana. Shashank then carted Chameera for three sixes, before hitting two more maximums and a four off Harshit to get his fifty. He and Bairstow hit three more boundaries collectively to complete a mammoth chase with eight balls to spare.

Earlier, Salt made 75, while Narine slammed 71 as the duo were also helped by PBKS dropping their three catches collectively in the first seven overs to smash the bowlers to all parts of the park. After the duo fell, Andre Russell, Shreyas Iyer and Venkatesh Iyer brought out the big hits to take KKR past 260, with the help of 22 fours and 18 sixes.

Salt and Narine’s 138-run stand is the second-highest opening partnership by any KKR pair in IPL history behind the unbeaten 184-run partnership between Chris Lynn and Gautam Gambhir against Gujarat Lions on April 7, 2017.

Pushed into batting first, Narine began by driving a juicy half-volley from Sam Curran for four. He then hit Arshdeep Singh for a six and four before being dropped by Harpreet Brar off Harshal Patel in the third over. Salt joined the boundary-hitting party with a four sandwiched between two sixes.

The carnage continued as Salt drove Kagiso Rabada through the line for four before Narine slammed two fours and six on the last three balls of the fourth over. The duo hit three more boundaries before Salt had a reprieve in the last over of power-play as KKR signed off from the phase with 76/0.

After that, Salt was given another life when Rabada dropped a chance off Rahul Chahar, making it the third time PBKS shelled a chance. Narine reverse-swept, drove and sliced for his boundaries to reach his fifty in only 23 balls before Salt swivelled and lapped off Rabada for four and six respectively.

Salt would get a 25-ball fifty, his third half-century of the season, by dispatching Chahar through extra cover for four, as KKR reached 137/0 at the halfway mark. PBKS finally held on to a catch as Narine holed out to long-on off Curran, falling for 71 off just 32 balls. Two overs later, Salt was castled by Curran for a 37-ball 75.

Russell clubbed two fours and as many sixes in his 12-ball 24, before hooking to square leg off Arshdeep. Shreyas pulled, drove, flicked and sliced to hit Curran for four and three sixes in his 10-ball 28, before giving a catch to deep third man off Arshdeep in the 19th over. Venkatesh, Rinku Singh and Ramandeep Singh hit some boundaries at the end to take KKR past 260, which was insufficient to stop PBKS from hunting it down with ridiculous ease.

Brief scores:

Kolkata Knight Riders 261/6 in 20 overs (Phil Salt 75, Sunil Narine 71; Arshdeep Singh 2-45, Rahul Chahar 1-33) lost to Punjab Kings 262/2 in 18.4 overs (Jonny Bairstow 108 not out, Shashank Singh 68 not out; Sunil Narine 1-24) by eight wickets

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