Kolkata Knight Riders star-all rounder Andre Russell said he is thankful to Kings XI Punjab debutant (CV Varun or Hardus Viljoen) for making a costly error that handed the big-hitter an extra life at the Eden Gardens on Wednesday. REPORT | HIGHLIGHTS
Russell was cleaned up by a Mohammed Shami yorker when he was batting on 3 in the 17th over of Kolkata Knight Riders’ first innings. However, the umpire called a no-ball after noticing that Kings XI had only three fielders outside the 30-yard circle (there needs to be at least four).
Kings XI captain R Ashwin was fuming after Russell was gifted a reprieve while the Eden Gardens crowd were roaring in delight. Rusell made perfect use of the opportunity as he smashed five sixes and three boundaries after the missed opportunity. The West Indies big-hitter finished with 47 from 17 balls and helped KKR to a massive total of 218 for 4.
Russell’s cameo proved to be the difference between the two teams at the end as Kings XI Punjab managed only 190 runs, thereby losing the encounter by 28 runs.
“Thanks to that guy who was outside the ring. It’s the new guy, forgot his name. Thank you. When I got bowled, I thought I’d missed out but I saw the guys in the dugout signalling no-ball and I was like, please God, let it be a no-ball,” Russell said.
Russell has been in fine form in IPL 2019. The KKR all-rounder had smashed 49 runs from just 19 balls in KKR’s win over Sunrisers Hyderabad on Sunday. Russell has now two Man of the Match awards in as many matches.
Talking about his impressive start to the season, Russell said he is planning to expand his garage to accommodate the awards he is expecting to receive in IPL 2019.
“Keep getting cars and these awards. I’ll have to make a bigger garage. End of the day, well done to the guys,” Russell said.
Russell shone with the bowl as well as he picked up two wickets, including the big wickets of Chris Gayle and KL Rahul.
“Gayle’s like a brother to me. A legend and to get him out early in the first six is big. The plan was to restrict him as best as possible. KL Rahul too. We have our plans and we executed them,” Russell added.
Shedding light on the missed opportunity, Kings XI skipper R Ashwin said he is ready to take the blame for the goof-up on the field. Ashwin had a horrible night at the Eden Gardens as he conceded 47 runs from his four-over spell and made a couple of poor captaincy calls.
“I should’ve had a look at it. At that stage, with the slog on, you hope the fielders are switched on but obviously he was a debutant,” Ashwin said.
Having won two successive matches to start their IPL 2019 season on a high, Kolkata Knight Riders will travel to Delhi to take on the Delhi Capitals on Saturday.