Andre Russell’s awe-inspiring 40-ball 80 propelled Kolkata Knight Riders to a 34-run win over Mumbai Indians at the Eden Gardens on Sunday and helped it stay alive in IPL-12.
Knight Riders, thanks to the Russell storm, posted a mammoth 232 for two, the highest of the season. When Mumbai batted, Russell also took two wickets as the hosts withstood Hardik Pandya’s unbelievable assault — a 34-ball 91 embellished with six fours and nine sixes. Karthik’s men ended their six-match losing streak and finished their home engagements on a high.
The Kolkata openers, Chris Lynn and Shubman Gill, laid a solid foundation, adding 96. The latter spoilt the debut of left-arm seamer Barinder Sran, scoring 14 off his Punjab teammate who opened the bowling.
Lynn, dropped on 12 by Kieron Pollard off Lasith Malinga in the sixth over, used the crease well to play some glorious shots straight down the ground.
Lynn (54) and Gill (76) upped the ante, scoring at more than 10 runs from the sixth to ninth overs.
The Aussie, who scored his fourth half-century this season, fell to a mistimed pull off leg-spinner Rahul Chahar — who ran between the umpire and the stumps to bowl over the wicket — and was caught in the deep.
Gill on song
Russell, who walked in at No. 3 in the 10th over at the fall of Lynn’s wicket, initially played second fiddle to Gill. The Punjab stylist stroked six fours and four sixes, including one over the sight screen off Chahar, to reach his second half-century. He added 62 in quick time with the West Indian.
Russell, who had scored just six off 11 deliveries, soon justified his promotion. Even though the MI bowlers tried to bowl too wide or too close to him, he found a way out. Almost everything that sped off his bat travelled to the boundary.
Russell bludgeoned Hardik, who conceded three sixes in an over to the Jamaican, and Malinga for 20 runs each at the death.
Jasprit Bumrah managed to keep Russell quiet in their fascinating battle before the latter broke free again, finishing with six hits to the fence and eight over it.
Defending 232, Knight Riders picked up timely wickets to reduce Mumbai Indians to 58 for four before Hardik dealt more with sixes than fours to keep his side in the hunt.
His ferocious blows gave Knight Riders a few nervous moments before Harry Gurney ended the all-rounder’s breathtaking knock and sealed the issue in the host’s favour.
KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS
Shubman Gill c Lewis b Hardik 76 (45b, 6×4, 4×6), Chris Lynn c Lewis b Chahar 54 (29b, 8×4, 2×6), Andre Russell (not out) 80 (40b, 6×4, 8×6), Dinesh Karthik (not out) 15 (7b, 1×4, 1×6); Extras (lb-1, nb-1, w-5): 7; Total (for two wkts. in 20 overs): 232.
FALL OF WICKETS
1-96 (Lynn, 9.3 overs), 2-158 (Gill, 15.2).
MUMBAI INDIANS BOWLING
Sran 2-0-27-0, Krunal 3-0-27-0, Malinga 4-0-48-0, Bumrah 4-0-44-0, Chahar 4-0-54-1, Hardik 3-0-31-1.
Quinton de Kock c Russell b Narine 0 (4b), Rohit Sharma lbw b Gurney 12 (9b, 3×4), Evin Lewis c Karthik b Russell 15 (16b, 1×4, 1×6), Suryakumar Yadav c Karthik b Russell 26 (14b, 2×4, 2×6), Kieron Pollard c Rana b Narine 20 (21b, 2×4), Hardik Pandya c Russell b Gurney 91 (34b, 6×4, 9×6), Krunal Pandya c & b Chawla 24 (18b, 2×6), Barinder Sran (not out) 3 (3b), Rahul Chahar (not out) 1 (1b); Extras (b-4, lb-2): 6; Total (for seven wkts. in 20 overs): 198.
FALL OF WICKETS
1-9 (de Kock, 1.2 overs), 2-21 (Rohit, 3.3), 3-41 (Lewis, 6.1), 4-58 (Suryakumar, 8.2), 5-121 (Pollard, 13.2), 6-185 (Hardik, 17.6), 7-196 (Krunal, 19.4).
KNIGHT RIDERS BOWLING
Warrier 4-0-29-0, Narine 4-0-44-2, Gurney 4-0-37-2, Russell 4-0-25-2, Chawla 4-0-57-1.
Toss: MI. MoM: Russell.
KKR won by 34 runs.