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Eoin Morgan's lean run of form continues as Kolkata lose to fellow IPL play-off chasers Punjab Kings

Punjab stay alive in play-off race, move level on points with fourth-placed KKR after thrilling win; Kings triumph with three balls to spare in game including contentious non-catch and sparkling innings from Knight Riders' Venkatesh Iyer; watch IPL double header on Sky Sports on Saturday

Eoin Morgan, Kolkata Knight Riders, IPL
Image: Eoin Morgan has scored just 17 runs in four innings for Kolkata Knight Riders since the IPL resumed in the UAE

Eoin Morgan's lean run of form continued as Kolkata Knight Riders lost a thriller to Punjab Kings and the IPL play-off race was blown wide open.

The England white-ball captain's second-ball lbw dismissal to Mohammed Shami in Dubai means he has scored just 17 runs in four innings since the IPL resumed in the United Arab Emirates in September.

Kolkata skipper Morgan is averaging below 11 across the tournament as a whole, while he notched only 49 runs in four innings for England in T20 internationals against Pakistan and Sri Lanka during the home summer - numbers that may be a concern ahead of the T20 World Cup.

Morgan's form is in stark contrast to Punjab captain and Orange Cap holder KL Rahul, whose 67 from 55 deliveries against KKR helped his side reach their target of 166 with three balls to spare to stay alive in the play-off race.

Punjab's five-wicket win has moved them up to fifth in the table, level on points with fourth-placed Kolkata as well as sixth-placed Mumbai Indians, while the result also confirmed Delhi Capitals' play-off place.

IPL table from October 1
Image: Sides play 14 group games in the IPL with the top four teams reaching the play-offs

Rahul was caught off the second ball of the final over with four runs still required, having been reprieved on 62 in the previous over when the TV umpire adjudged that the ball had hit the ground as Rahul Tripathi ran in from deep midwicket to take a catch.

However, Shahrukh Khan struck the winning six the delivery after Rahul was dismissed as Tripathi dropped the ball over the rope at wide long-on.

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Venkatesh Iyer was the unlucky bowler, having earlier top-scored for Kolkata with 67 off 49 deliveries as he carded his second half-century in just his fifth IPL innings following his 53 against Mumbai on September 23.

The opener played a number of pleasing shots, from slog sweeps to ramps to cover drives to flowing strokes through the on-side, before he was caught at deep midwicket off Kings leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi (2-22).

Tripathi (34 off 26) and Nitish Rana (31 off 18) also fired but KKR were limited to 44 runs from the final five overs and just 14 from the last two as Shami (1-23) and Arshdeep Singh (3-32) closed out the innings in style.

Kings - shorn of Chris Gayle with the West Indian having left the IPL in order to "mentally recharge and refresh" ahead of the T20 World Cup - were given an early boost in the chase when Morgan dropped Mayank Agarwal on nought at cover.

Agarwal went on 40 score from 27 deliveries in an opening-wicket stand of 70 with Rahul before cracking to Morgan at cover once again - the fielder clinging on this time.

Kolkata continued to chip away with wickets but Rahul's 26th IPL fifty and fifth of the campaign kept Kings on course.

When Rahul was eventually dismissed - five balls after benefitting from that contentious non-catch - Shahrukh (22no off 9) ended his enterprising cameo by clinching victory as the ball burst Tripathi's hands in the deep.

There is an IPL double header live on Sky Sports Cricket on Saturday. Watch Mumbai Indians vs Delhi Capitals from 10.50am and then Rajasthan Royals vs Chennai Super Kings from 2.50pm.

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