It was the Andre Russell show as Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) kept their faint hopes of making the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 Playoffs alive with a dominant 54-run victory over Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Pune on Saturday, May 14.
The win sees KKR move up to sixth spot on the IPL 2022 Points Table with 12 points from 13 games, while SRH move down to eight spot with 10 points from 12 games.
KKR can only get to a maximum of 14 points with just one game left to play and need other results to go their way in their bid to make the knockout stage, with Delhi and Punjab also on 12 points but with two games left to play.
Russell walked out with KKR struggling at 94/5 and missed out on a well-deserved half-century with an unbeaten on 49 off 28 balls as he fired KKR to a challenging total of 177/6.
The Jamaican superstar then played a big-role in the chase as he picked up figures of 3/22 with the ball to help restrict SRH to just 123/8.
Russell finished as both the highest scorer and highest wicket-taker for KKR with a memorable Player of the Match performance.
SRH’s run-chase got off to a decent start mainly thanks to Abhishek Sharma. However, Russell entered the attack in the 6th and struck immediately to end Kane Williamson’s scratchy stay.
Williamson (9 off 17 balls) went for an awkward 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 catch to send Rahul Tripathi (9 off 12 balls) back in the 9th over.
Abhishek was the only batter who looked comfortable for SRH but the opener was finally dismissed when looking to raise the tempo in the 12th over. Abhishek (43 off 28 balls) went for the slog-sweep against Varun Chakaravarthy (1/25) only to find the man at square leg.
Narine (1/34) then lured Nicholas Pooran (2) into a false shot in the next over and took a sharp return catch to reduce SRH to 76/4.
Aiden Markram who managed just 12 runs off the first 16 balls he faced then looked to get going as he smashed a couple of sixes against Chakaravarthy in the next over.
Markram (32 off 25 balls) even tonked a massive six against Umesh Yadav (1/19) on the 1st ball of the 15th over but then dragged a length delivery back onto the stumps on the 4th ball.
With SRH struggling, Russell came steaming in to make matters worse in the 18th over. Russell first got rid of Washington Sundar (4) with the 1st ball of the over and then got Marco Jansen (1) caught behind on the 5th delivery.
Southee (2/23) then doubled his tally in the 19th over as he got the wicket of Shashank Singh (11) as SRH could only manage to 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 came in to replace 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) marked his return to the side with a wicket in his first over with Venkatesh Iyer (7) dragging a short delivery back onto the stumps in the 2nd over.
Nitish Rana and Ajinkya Rahane then steadied KKR with a decent 48-run partnership off 33 balls. Rana was the more aggressive of the duo as he welcomed Natarajan into the attack with 2 sixes and a four in the 5th over.
The pair were both sent packing in the 8th over as Umran Malik entered the fray and landed a quick double-blow. Malik first got Rana (26 off 16 balls) to mistime the scoop on a back of length delivery straight to Shashank Singh at backward square leg.
Shashank then took an excellent catch right at the edge of the boundary to get rid of Rahane (28 off 24 balls) on the last ball of the over.
Malik (3/33) struck again in the 10th over as he got the big wicket of Shreyas (15) with the KKR captain flicking a slot delivery straight to the man at midwicket.
Natarajan (1/43) who conceded 18 runs in his opening over then returned to bowl the 12th over 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-run stand to take KKR up to the 150-run mark.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar (1/27) came in to bowl the 19th over and did superbly to give away just 6 runs while also bagging the wicket of Billings (34 off 29 balls) who sliced a slower off-cutter straight to cover.
Russell (49 off 28) meanwhile provided some late fireworks with three sixes against Sundar in the final over to fire KKR to 177/6.