It was Andre Russell’s spectacle as the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) kept their dim hopes of bringing the 2022 Indian Premier League (IPL) Qualifiers alive with a dominating 54-point win over Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Pune on Saturday 14th May.
KKR can only get a maximum of 14 points with just one game left and need further results to advance in their bid to qualify for the knockout stage, with Delhi and Punjab also on 12 points but with two games to play.
Russell came out with struggling KKR at 94/5 and missed a well-deserved half-century with an unbeaten 49-for-28 as he fired KKR to a tough 177/6.
The Jamaican superstar then played a big part in the chase as he recorded numbers of 3/22 with the ball to help limit the SRH to just 123/8.
Russell finished as both top scorer and top wicket taker for KKR with a memorable player of the match performance.
SRH’s chase got off to a good start mainly thanks to Abhishek Sharma. However, Russell came into the attack in the 6th and struck immediately to end Kane Williamson’s irregular stay.
Williamson (9 from 17 balls) went for a clumsy scoop on the 2nd ball but was beaten for pace as Russel sent the bails flying. Tim Southee then doubled the advantage for KKR when he took a smart return to fire Rahul Tripathi (9 from 12 balls) in the 9th.
Abhishek was the only hitter who looked comfortable for SRH, but the opener was eventually dismissed as he looked to pick up the pace on the 12th. Abhishek (43 from 28 balls) went for the slog-sweep against Varun Chakaravarthy (1/25) to find the square-legged man.
Narine (1/34) then caught Nicholas Pooran (2) in a false shot in the next over and took a clean return catch to reduce SRH to 76/4.
Aiden Markram, who managed just 12 runs from the first 16 balls he faced, then looked for a run as he hit a few sixes against Chakaravarthy on the following course.
Markram (32 from 25 balls) even hit a huge six against Umesh Yadav (1/19) on the 1st ball of the 15th but then brought a delivery length back to the stumps on the 4th ball.
With SRH struggling, Russell came on steam to make matters worse in 18th. Russell first got rid of Washington Sundar (4) with the 1st ball of the most, then caught up with Marco Jansen (1) on the 5th delivery.
Southee (2/23) then doubled his tally in the 19th by getting the wicket from Shashank Singh (11) as SRH could only limp to 123/8 after 20 overs.
Earlier at the Toss, Shreyas Iyer opted to bat as KKR made two changes. Umesh and Sam Billings replaced the injured Pat Cummins and Sheldon Jackson. SRH made three changes with T Natarajan, Washington Sundar and Marco Jansen all returning to the Playing XI.
Kolkata got off to a rocky start as Jansen (1/30) scored his return to the side with a wicket on his first pass with Venkatesh Iyer (7) bringing home a short delivery to the stumps on the 2nd pass.
Nitish Rana and Ajinkya Rahane then stabilized KKR with a decent partnership of 48 points on 33 balls. Rana was the more aggressive of the duo as he hosted Natarajan in the attack with 2 sixes and a four in the 5th.
The pair were dispatched to 8th place as Umran Malik entered the fray and landed a quick double punch. Malik first got Rana (26 from 16 balls) to mistime the scoop on a length delivery back straight to Shashank Singh at the back square leg.
Shashank then took an excellent hold just on the edge of the boundary to get rid of Rahane (28 from 24 balls) on the last ball of the plus.
Malik (3/33) struck again in the 10th getting the big wicket from Shreyas (15) with the KKR captain slotting a straight lunge at the man in the middle of the wicket.
Natarajan (1/43) who conceded 18 points in his opener then came back to throw the 12th and this time trapped Rinku Singh (5) LBW to reduce KKR to 94/5.
Andre Russell and Sam Billings then began the arduous rebuilding process with a 63-race pitstop to bring KKR to the 150-race mark.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar (1/27) came on to kick off the 19th and superbly managed to give up just 6 runs while bagging the wicket from Billings (34 from 29 balls) who cut a slower straight to cover.
Russell (49 of 28) meanwhile provided some late fireworks with three sixes against Sundar in the final to fire KKR at 177/6.