Andre Russell played like a man possessed to blast an extraordinary 49 off 19 balls and muscle Kolkata Knight Riders past the target of 182 set by Sunrisers Hyderabad, in an entertaining IPL encounter at the Eden Gardens here on Sunday.
With Knight Riders needing 53 runs in the last three overs, the West Indian all-rounder struck four sixes and three fours (plus two singles) to score 38 runs off just 10 balls in the 18th and 19th overs and turned the match on its head.
After Russell had done the plundering, his partner Shubman Gill struck two big sixes in the final over to complete the win by six wickets with two balls to spare.
The last 2.4 overs had produced 54 runs. All this after the floodlights went off owing to power failure and held up the match for nearly 15 minutes.
Asked to bat, Sunrisers made 181 for three riding on David Warner’s 85.
Knight Riders suffered an early blow losing opener Chris Lynn (7) in the second over when the Australian mistimed one off left-arm spinner Shakib Al Hasan and offered an easy catch to Rashid Khan in the covers.
KKR recovered well with the other opener Nitish Rana and Robin Uthappa pairing in an 80-run partnership for the second wicket.
Just when the partnership appeared to be threatening, Uthappa (35) was scalped by medium-pacer Siddarth Kaul.
Knight Riders suffered another quick blow as captain Dinesh Karthik (2) walked back lasting just four balls leaving Rana to do the run-making in the company of Andre Russell.
Rana (68, 47b, 8×4, 3×6), however, left in the 16th over to let Russell do the rescue act almost single-handedly.
This, in effect, eclipsed Warner’s eventful return to the IPL after serving out the suspension following ‘Sandpapergate’.
The Australia opener did not seem to have lost his touch despite being away from international cricket for almost a year as he pulverised the home attack on a well-paced wicket to give Sunrisers a big score to defend.
Warner constructed his delectable innings on his trademark aggression, hitting nine boundaries and three sixes to reach 85 off just 53 balls. This was his 37th half-century, taking him to 40 50-plus scores in the IPL.
Sunrisers relished Warner’s demolition of the KKR bowlers as he shared a 118-run (78 balls) opening stand with Englishman Jonny Bairstow, who marked his IPL debut with a 35-ball 39.
Warner’s exemplary stroke-making inspired Vijay Shankar, who remained unbeaten on 40 (24b, 2×4, 2×6) and anchored the team innings past the 180-mark.
David Warner c Uthappa b Russell 85 (53b, 9×4, 3×6), Jonny Bairstow b Chawla 39 (35b, 3×4, 1×6), Vijay Shankar (not out) 40 (24b, 2×4, 2×6), Yusuf Pathan b Russell 1 (4b), Manish Pandey (not out) 8 (5b, 1×4); Extras (nb-1, w-2, b-1, lb-4): 8; Total (for three wkts. in 20 overs): 181.
FALL OF WICKETS
1-118 (Bairstow, 12.5 overs), 2-144 (Warner, 15.6), 3-152 (Yusuf, 17.3).
KNIGHT RIDERS BOWLING
Prasidh 4-0-31-0, Chawla 3-0-23-1, Ferguson 4-0-34-0, Narine 3-0-29-0, Kuldeep 2-0-18-0, Russell 3-0-32-2.
KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS
Chris Lynn c Rashid b Shakib 7 (11b, 1×6), Nitish Rana lbw b Rashid 68 (47b, 8×4, 3×6), Robin Uthappa b Kaul 35 (27b, 3×4, 1×6), Dinesh Karthik c Bhuvneshwar b Sandeep 2 (4b), Andre Russell (not out) 49 (19b, 4×4, 4×6), Shubman Gill (not out) 18 (10b, 2×6); Extras (w-3, lb-1): 4; Total (for four wkts. in 19.4 overs): 183.
FALL OF WICKETS
1-7 (Lynn, 1.6), 2-87 (Uthappa, 11.4), 3-95 (Karthik, 12.4), 4-118 (Rana, 15.3).
Bhuvneshwar 4-0-37-0, Shakib 3.4-0-42-1, Sandeep 4-0-42-1, Kaul 4-0-35-1, Rashid 4-0-26-1.
Toss: Knight Riders.
Knight Riders won by six wickets with two deliveries remaining.