Andre Russell hit a 17-ball 48 and picked the wickets of Chris Gayle and Sarfaraz Khan to script a 28-run victory for Kolkata Knight Riders against Kings XI Punjab at the Eden Gardens. Russell had also starred with a 19-ball unbeaten 49 for KKR against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Sunday.
While Russell had to dig deep against SRH, he walked out to bat after Sunil Narine (24 off 9) and Nitish Rana (63 off 34) had laid the platform for a strong finish. But you could hear a pin drop at the Eden Gardens when Mohammed Shami bowled a perfect yorker to nail Andre Russell. There was high drama to follow when the umpire ruled a no-ball: there were only three fielders inside the circle instead of at least four.
R Ashwin, the KXIP skipper, was angry – it wasn’t clear who with but Andre Russell made sure KXIP paid for the mistake. He smashed three fours and five sixes before finally perishing with two balls left in the innings. Robin Uthappa anchored the innings well and remained unbeaten on 67.
KL Rahul, who vowed to be more disciplined with the World Cup in mind, fell to Lockie Ferguson for 1 in the second over of the innings. Chris Gayle tried to gain some momentum for Punjab but he fell to Russell in his first over. Sarfaraz, who looked in good touch, fell to Russell in his next over.
KolkataKnightRiders (@KKRiders) March 27, 2019
At 60 for 3 off 7.3 overs, KXIP’s chase was well and truly derailed. They needed something special from David Miller and Mayank Agarwal to produce another come-from-behind win. The two added 74 in quick time but Piyush Chawla bowled a brilliant 16th over: he dismissed Agarwal for 58 and gave away only 4 runs. Even with Miller at the crease, it was going to be a huge ask for Punjab with 82 needed off the last 4 overs.
It was a night KKR won’t forget in a hurry. They looked rusty against Sunrisers Hyderabad last weekend till Russell came and bailed them out. On Tuesday, the Knight Riders were on a rampage. Chris Lynn flopped again but Sunil Narine, having recovered from an injury, returned to the top of the order and gave his team a blazing start.
Robin Uthappa did what he has done for years for KKR – he was watchful without getting completely bogged down and ensured KXIP did not get another sniff after Narine fell to Hardus Viljoen.
It was an ordinary bowling performance from KXIP. R Ashwin leaked 47 runs off his 4 overs while Mohammed Shami went for 25 runs off his last over and finished with 1 for 44 off 4 overs.